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Qualitative by the Numbers – Blog Seven: Two Hours to Write a Screener – 5 Best Practices 

Posted on November 19, 2021 by Riva Market Research Training Institute

Regardless of if it is your first time sitting down to write a screener or your 50th time, there are 5 Best Practices that will make it a smoother and cleaner process for you. I’ve been writing qualitative market research screeners for more than 20 years and work through each of these steps to ensure success in the recruiting the right people for your project.

  1. Make sure you have the study purpose in mind – before you sit down to write the screener make sure you understand the client’s purpose for conducting the research. This will help you ensure your series of questions are inline with who they want to speak to.
  2. Work off of your research brief or client proposal. In either of these documents should be specifications of the respondents you are looking to recruit. This is a jumping off point. You may need to add questions to your screener to get to something particular. For example, the client is looking to talk to people who have kids under the age of 18 living at home with a mix of ages and gender and those that do not have kids living at home. The question you need to ask is: Do you currently have any children currently living in your household under the age of 18?  This will lead you to a yes/no response. The questions and skip patterns you have will get you the respondent who has kids living at home under the age of 18 (mix of ages and gender) or that do not have kids under the age of 18 living at home.
  3. Work off a template that has the questions you ask regardless of the topic or type of respondent you are looking to recruit. These questions include gender, past participation, employment industry, as well as demographic questions. Most screeners will ask for age, income, race, marital status, employment status, and education level. Regardless of if that question makes someone continue or terminate, it is almost always asked.  You more than likely will need to make slight adjustments to each question, but the majority of the questions are written so you don’t need to write it every time you create a screener.
  4. Make sure to use your track changes feature to ask your client a question so they can respond directly to the screener itself. You might need to know what competitive brands they want to make sure someone uses, if they use a particular product, or you want to make sure you have everything listed in a question that is relevant to the study. Using the comment feature in the track changes is helpful as you can see who’s responding and it allows multiple people on the client side to respond to you and each other. Everything stays in the document, and you don’t have to keep track of multiple emails back and forth.
  5. ALWAYS either read the screener out loud to yourself, ask someone to play the role of the respondent you are looking to recruit, or have someone else read you the screener questions to see what, if any, questions are missing. By doing one of the above you will also be proofing your work, so you kill two birds with one stone! 

So, the next time you write a qualitative market research screener keep in mind the 5 Best Practices above to help ensure a simpler process for you.

Written by: Amber Tedesco, Executive Director & COO