The time seems to be ripe in our industry to really start examining the participant experience and how it affects things like trust, database quality and brand perception. To that end, GRBN had been exploring the trust angle, while Jessica and I had been exploring the participant experience across different kinds of research. After IIeX NA, we decided to join forces and take this initiative global.
With the assistance of P2 Sample, Research Now, FocusVision, RP Translate and Sentient Decision Science we created a twelve-country survey to explore:
  • Why people take surveys
  • How often they participate in surveys
  • How they learned about taking surveys in the first place
  • How they rate their experiences with surveys and how those experiences affect their perceptions and behaviors around surveys
The countries we sampled from were:
  • Argentina, N = 500
  • Australia, N = 500
  • Brazil, N = 500
  • Canada, N = 502
  • China, N = 502
  • Germany, N = 500
  • Japan, N = 509
  • Italy, N = 500
  • Mexico, N = 500
  • Spain, N = 500
  • United Kingdom; N = 500
  • United Stated; N = 507
We polled a cross sample of people, meant to mimic general population. All surveys were conducted in October of 2016. Results from this phase of the project were both predictable and surprising.  Detailed results will come through at some upcoming conferences; so here, we’ll just touch on things at a high level with a focus on China vs. Japan. These two make an interesting story because of their geographic proximity and cultural differences.
The majority (average across countries – 61%) of our participants report taking less than 10 surveys a month.  Most participants also report being signed up with multiple survey companies: 3.77 on average.  Panel members in Japan report being signed up with the most companies (4.69), and those in China the least (2.23). It’s also worth noting that far more Japanese participants (71%) than those in China (22%) have been taking surveys for more than 3 years,.  Additionally, the people polled in China report that they also participate in telephone surveys, in person interviews, and focus groups both online and in person; Japanese participants do far less.  I did wonder, while reviewing the rest of the data, whether Chinese respondents’ feelings about research were colored by experiences outside of surveys.
Different Experiences, Different Attitudes toward taking surveys
It’s not surprising that participating in surveys for money is a motivator for most people (65%). What did surprise me was the difference between China (47%) and Japan (80%).   The Chinese also feel like participating in surveys brings them closer to companies, report never having had a bad experience much more frequently and are significantly more likely to recommend taking surveys to a friend than the Japanese. With that, there seems to be a correlation between how important the more intrinsic benefits of participating in research are and how positively they view their experiences. It’s worth exploring further that the more we, as an industry, do to support the intrinsic benefits of research the happier our participants will be and the more they will, in turn, help us grow and maintain quality databases.
 Kerry Hecht  Jessica_Broome
  Kerry Hecht   Jessica Broome
Kerry began her career as a phone interviewer for MARC Opinion Research in Dallas at the age of 19 and has worked her way up in the industry ever since. Being an intuitive thinker and tireless people watcher led her to take on more research-focused roles, where she can focus on the “why.” She fuels her passion for online qualitative research as a Director of Research Services for Recollective. Prior to joining Recollective, Kerry worked for Dub, Added-Value, Burke and Hall and Partners.    Over the past 17 years, Jessica Broome has designed and applied qualitative and quantitative research for clients across sectors. Before launching Jessica Broome Research in 2008, she worked in research for major PR agencies, including Ogilvy and Edelman. Jessica holds a PhD in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan.