Qualtrics: Recruit Survey Participants

There are a variety of different ways to recruit survey participants. We have created a decision tree guide to help you determine where to get a contact list.

Please review the questions below, in order. If your answer is yes to a particular question, please read the text below that question. If the answer is no, please move on to the next question. This page should be used as a starting guide to get you looking in the right places for your online research needs, rather than a definitive map to the participant pool you should use.

Question 1: Do you need a sample of UMN students, staff, or faculty?

University Data and Institutional Reporting (UDIR) can provide contact lists of university students, staff, or faculty if your project satisfies a University business or educational need. Fill out the U-SAT Approval & Assistance Form to request a contact list from UDIR.

UDIR typically only accepts requests for directory information. Any requests for private data will be subject to business/educational need-to-know evaluation and require a supporting statement of justification for access. Prior to requesting private data, please review the following relevant policies from the University Policy Library:

Please note, it is rarely appropriate to survey an entire group or University population. Census surveys are subject to additional scrutiny; in almost all cases, sampling is recommended over conducting a census survey. Before you request an internal contact list, make sure to review information on UMN's sampling best practices

Question 2: Do you require a probability sample? 

Online probability panels select individuals for their panel through probability-based sampling methods (e.g., address-based sampling) and are managed by an outside organization. These panels are typically more costly than other methods, but are often necessary for specific types of research questions. A few examples:

Questions 3 and 4: Are you researching a rare or hard-to-reach population? Or do your participants need to have minimal experience with research studies?

Market research panels typically excel above other methods at reaching rare or hard-to-contact populations and have more research-naive respondents than volunteer-based recruitment websites (e.g., Prolific, MTurk). Market research panels typically select individuals for their panel through non-probability sampling (e.g. volunteer or river sampling) and are managed by an outside organization. The quality of market research panels can vary highly, so it is important to do your research on which panel will work best for you. We recommend finding a given company's answers to the ESOMAR market research panel questions and vetting them. A couple examples:

ESOMAR's site also has a list of other market research panels to look into.

If you said no to all of the questions 

If you said no to questions 1 through 4 above, we recommend either market research panels (see information about market research panels under questions 3 and 4 above) or volunteer-based websites.

Volunteer-based websites contain individuals who signed up to complete studies and/or tasks listed on the given volunteer website. Although these websites are strictly volunteer-based, some of these sites offer considerable quota sampling capabilities and are typically the cheapest method for online recruitment. A few examples:

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