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8 ways to encourage participants to take part in education market research

In education market research, recruiting participants is one of the biggest challenges we face. Over the last 12 years, we’ve learned the best ways to encourage people to take part in education market research. Here are 8 of our favourites.

Encourage participants in education research.webp

1. Make sure you have the right participants

When conducting education market research, we use different methods. They’re not appropriate for all different demographics, though. For example, busy head teachers may not want to participate in online communities. Students, on the other hand, may need fun and engaging sessions for them to fully participate. It’s essential to define the right type of participant before recruiting. This would include thinking about their job function, their decision-making level, and previous experience or engagement with your brand or organisation.

2. Communicate expectations from the start

You should always clarify what’s expected from education market research participants from the beginning. This helps to avoid frustrations later on down the line. Be clear about timeframes and the time commitment required. Explain how the research will be conducted, for example, interviews via Zoom or through an online community. Informing them why they’ve been selected can help with buy-in, too. You should also communicate why you’re conducting education market research and what you hope to achieve.

 3. Pre-empt and overcome any objections

Occasionally, education market research participants may object to taking part. Some may be concerned about their privacy and disclosing their true opinions. In such cases, it helps to promise them their anonymity and that personal data will be protected. We work in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct which has strict guidelines on how we conduct research and how we must protect the confidentiality of participants. Knowing that we adhere to an industry standard can be helpful to reassure those who have no previous experience of taking part in market research. Some may feel like they don’t know enough about the subject to participate, so make sure you explain why they’ve been chosen to take part.

4. Respect their time

When conducting education market research, we often deal with busy and ‘time-poor’ professionals. With this in mind, it’s smart to make the research as concise as possible, while still gaining the insights needed. As well as being clear about the time commitment from the get-go, things should also be efficient. For example, make sure interviews start and finish as scheduled. Avoiding lots of paperwork is another way to show you respect their time, too.

5. Offer flexible times for them to choose from 

Give your education market research participants a variety of times and days to take part. This way, you’ll maximise participation rates. You should also think about their schedules and when the most convenient time would be for them. For example, for teachers we often need to consider that they are in-class during their normal workday, and so research may need to take place after school or into the early evening. We are also conscious of the many demands placed on teachers’ time and know that it can be difficult to reach teachers during their well-earned holidays out of term time - something that needs to be factored into project scheduling well ahead of time.

6. Make it easy to participate

Removing friction from education market research is another way of ensuring participant engagement. If you’re using software, try to use familiar and widely-used tools, like Zoom. This way, participants won’t have to learn how to use new technology. Be sure to keep pre or post-session paperwork to a minimum, too.

7. Use incentives

When conducting education market research, offering incentives can boost engagement. These are typically cash incentives which we pay using our dedicated market research payment platform, making sure that our participants have a good experience and are paid promptly. Not that the Market Research Society Code of Conduct prevents us from offering our clients’ products or services as incentives. Where cash incentives are not appropriate, charity donations to a charity of the participant’s choice can also be an effective incentive and avoid any concerns about conflicts of interest.. It’s important to keep incentives appropriate, meaningful and reflective of the professional standing and seniority of the person whose time you wish to take up.

8. Play on intrinsic motivation

You don’t always have to rely on incentives to motivate education market research participants. Often, people can feel motivated to take part if they feel their contribution will make a difference. They may be passionate about the sector, or directly affected by the outcomes of the education market research taking place. It’s always a good idea to understand what motivates your participants other than financial rewards. Be sure to emphasise what’s in it for them.


These are just some of the many strategies we use to encourage participation in education market research. With over 12 years in business, we’ve learned all there is to know about recruiting participants and gaining the best insights. Check out our case studies and contact us today to discuss your project.

How can we help?

If you would like to ask our advice, book a
no-obligation 30 minute consultation with us to discuss your research requirements or to simply have a chat and find out more about what we do.

Alternatively, use the briefing form to start discussing a new project, give Jill Elston a call on +44 (0)7703 462179 or email us

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