Market researchers reviewing a consent form as part of participant recruitment in qualitative research.

8 things your qual market research recruitment consent form must include

When it comes to participant recruitment in qualitative research, informed consent is vital.

As outlined by the MRS Code of Conduct, your participants should give their consent for each stage of the research project, and should be given enough information to be able to make the best decisions for them.

Consent forms, whether physical or digital, are the most practical, traceable and secure way to:

  1. provide this information to your participants
  2. record them giving their consent

As such, there are several things you’ll need to include in your consent forms to ensure that they are transparent and informative enough for your participants to make a decision – all of which we’ve outlined below:

A participant reviewing a consent form as part of participant recruitment in qualitative research.

8 things your market research participant consent forms should include:

1. The name of the brand, business or individual responsible for the data collection

Typically, the initial stages of participant recruitment in qualitative research don't involve participants knowing which organisation is running the project (for example, they might be told it’s a “leading media company” or a “major food brand” at most).

It’s therefore important that you are transparent at this point in the process in case the organisation is one that, for personal reasons, the participants do not wish to take part in research for (you can include a non-disclosure agreement separately if your client wishes to remain anonymous).

2. The general subject and purpose of the data collection

This is something that your participants should already be reasonably aware of from the application process, but it’s best to re-emphasise this in your consent forms to ensure they fully understand the subject matter and purpose of the study, and their role within it.

3. Confirmation of what participants will be required to do as part of the research

Make sure it is as clear as possible here what your participants (and any children that are taking part) will be asked to do as part of the study so that there are no unexpected surprises on the day.

4. Clarification on whether they will be recorded/observed as part of the study, by whom, and how long for

Again, ensure this is broken down for each stage of the project so that the participant can give their consent for all parts they’ll be involved in. This is particularly important in live streamed research, where data is being gathered and observed in the moment.

5. Who will have access to any recorded information, and how this data will be used and shared

This includes departments and individuals in the organisation that the research is being conducted for, as well as any other parties involved, such as market research and fieldwork teams. In addition, any software providers and platforms who also may hold data as part of the process.

6. Confirmation that the research is being conducted in line with the MRS Code of Conduct

Explain what this means and include a link out to the MRS Code of Conduct so that participants can read into this further.

7. Assurance that data collection and storage is in compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Similarly to the MRS Code of Conduct, explain what this means in a way that will be easy for your participants to understand and link out to GDPR regulations for further reading.

For live streamed research, you’ll also need to take into account that, if the research is international, any data you gather will be transferred outside of the EU and locations that do not have GDPR regulations in place, which your participants will need to be made aware of.

8. Freedom to withdraw from the study

Your participants should know (and be reminded frequently) that they are free to withdraw from the study at any time should they wish to, and that the data they have provided throughout the study will be destroyed with immediate effect.

A wheelchair user filling out a consent form on her computer as part of  participant recruitment in qualitative research.

We would also recommend...

Using your participant validation process over the phone as an additional opportunity to confirm their consent to take part. This can include reminding them of what will be expected of them on the day of the research, where/how it is taking place, what they need to bring/have with them and so on.

It’s also worth giving your participants a recap of the research objectives (what the brand is trying to achieve and why) and asking them if there’s anything else they’d like to know before the day.

You must also make sure your consent forms are created in accessible formats so that participants who may have additional needs or impairments are able to understand it as fully as possible; for example, including a text-to-speech function so that participants with visibility impairments can listen to the contents of the form.

Looking for additional support with participant recruitment for your qualitative research?

Consent is just one of the aspects of participant recruitment in qualitative research that we know inside-out and back-to-front here at Angelfish Fieldwork.

Even more so, we know how to cherry pick the perfect participants who will not only be happy to take part in your project, but will also help you realise some incredible data and insights!

If this is something you’d like to find out more about, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to have a chat about your unique project and requirements.

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