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Communication 101

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of communicating throughout the entire unmoderated study.

Justin L avatar
Written by Justin L
Updated over a week ago

When you communicate well, you motivate others to act*.

Celebrated author Ken Liu believes that "every act of communication is a miracle of translation." At Respondent, we believe that communicating consistently and effectively with each participant translates into a wealth of essential data at every stage of your research project.

No matter how attractive the research topic, or enticing the incentive, how you choose to communicate your project details and expectations informs and influences your participants. Good communication guarantees your research will show impressive results. Great communication keeps participants engaged and inspires them to fully invest in future research projects.

Effective communication:

  • Decreases the potential for conflict or project disengagement.

  • Offers a glimpse of a participant’s presentation style, the nuances of their tone, and inflection.

  • Helps you build a robust and invaluable participant database.

Honest, consistent, and effective communication draws people to the table. Create an open and collaborative spirit for each project. When previous participants know you're available and have an easy and relaxed communication style, they feel confident participating. And when you’ve communicated well, you'll want to invite those diverse and talented past participants to future projects. And in turn, you will motivate them to act!

Screener Surveys

The most successful research studies cross the finish line with a well-constructed screener survey. You want to capture as much data as possible. Your screener communicates your interest in a participant's skills and interests through a series of questions. We recommend that screeners be succinct and typically hit the sweet spot between 12 and 14 questions.

According to, “research shows that asking more questions versus builds emotional intelligence, allows Participants to share a deeper level of insights about their soft skills, and provide thoughtful responses as they apply to your qualifying survey.”

Your Project Title and Pitch say everything. Communicate the details of your research in a way that is memorable and impactful. Consider making your Project Title a question. Take a look at the following two examples:

Seeking IT professionals that build and test hardware

Are you a passionate IT professional always in search of improving technology?

The first Project Title isn’t very enticing, whereas the second Project Title opens the door to dialogue and discovery. Pique the Participant’s curiosity by asking probing and interesting questions. You’ll be amazed how effective a question-based Project Title and Pitch will communicate excitement and help you connect with the perfect target audience.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Aside from educating our researchers to communicate effectively with clear and concise screener questions, we strongly emphasize the importance when requesting a participant's contact information. Clarification reduces misunderstandings. Our built-in NDA feature effectively communicates a professional request to ask the participant permission to share an email or phone number.

Communicating a request for personally identifiable information (PII) should only be added to the NDA. Imagine getting a cold call from a stranger asking for your Social Security and credit card numbers and home address. You would hang up! questions in a screener survey are more likely to make participants hesitate and stop taking a screener, and, besides, PII requests without signed consent go against Respondent's Terms of Service.

Message Center

Respondent built a Message Center into each project you launch to ensure you have a way of reaching participants around the globe in real-time.

You can use the Message Center to send assignments, homework projects, explicit instructions, technology requirements, plus videos and images. By keeping the line of communication open in the Message Center, each participant is held accountable with a clear understanding of your project expectations.

You most likely have a limited amount of time to run your project. The data you collect becomes more valuable when the playing field is level. Each participant understands what you need them to do, when and where to meet you, and how to accomplish each task if you’re running a longer or segmented project.

Conversely, it is essential to allow your participants to message you with questions, clarify steps, particularly detailed tasks, confirm that you are available to reschedule or report a broken meeting link. To ensure you are up-to-date at all times, Respondent offers researchers notification opt-ins, including:

  • New Messages - respond within 48 hours

  • New Scheduled Respondents - check for new messages

  • Respondent Cancellations - reach out to reschedule

  • First Qualified Respondent - Your project is recruiting!

State your intentions. Commit to communicating regularly with your participants throughout the study. Keep communication in-house by documenting all your communications in the Respondent Message Center. It not only saves you time and keeps you organized, but also builds trust with your participants.


At Respondent, we view research as a collaborative process and we want our researchers and participants to build positive sustainable relationships. Invitations to participate in your research study are more than just an extension of the Participant’s qualifications to join the study.

Each invitation you send represents inclusion and belonging. To join a community with a desire to find a deeper understanding of people. Ask why we do what we do. Invitations to participate in research studies on Respondent allow participants to contribute and communicate their anecdotal experiences and opinions to improve health care, nutrition and lifestyle, science, technology, finance, business, and much more.

Once you’ve decided which participants are best qualified to participate you’re ready to send your invitations. Don’t forget to ask any lingering questions in the Message Center. Once you create your calendar you’re ready to click on the ‘Invite’ buttons to send invitation notifications to get started booking your participants.

It is imperative to communicate your booking instructions in the initial invitation. These include:

  • The calendar you want the Participant to book their appointment on.

  • The Zoom or Alternative Meeting Link (or UX Testing URL).

  • Detailed Instructions

Once the initial invitation is sent, a second, new, or updated invitation cannot, however, you can cancel the first appointment with the Participant and send a new Invitation which will allow you to re-send the booking calendar, virtual link, detailed instructions, and any important updates.

If your scheduled appointment with the Participant is within 4 hours, and you need to cancel and reschedule, reach out to our Customer Success team to get the Participant’s status reset. This will allow the Participant to accept a new invitation. Communicate clearly your intention to cancel and rebook.

The Participant will receive a notification to rebook once the original appointment is canceled, and Customer Success will send a courtesy message to the Participant to ensure a seamless rebooking. Follow up with the Participant in the Message Center letting them know you have calendared the new time and look forward to meeting with them to discuss your research!

Virtual Appointments

“Just click on the link.” If only it was that easy. Not every Participant will grasp the technical requirements to participate in your research projects. Communicate detailed instructions. Participants should understand if the meeting requires iOS, Android, or both and if the meeting is to be conducted on a laptop or cellphone. Explain all technical compatibilities, required passcodes, and requests to upload or download files, images, or video.

To maintain the momentum of each meeting; review your agenda then take note of the important data and qualifying information you received from the participant's screener. Smart and efficient time management makes you prepared when the meeting begins.

When the Participant enters the meeting, remain front and center with a cool and calm demeanor. Your phone should be off or muted. You would expect the same courtesy. Don’t sound or act rushed. Treat each participant as if they were sitting across from you in a private nook, talking over coffee.

As a global company, Respondent understands that you might sometimes encounter a challenging virtual call. A distracting call, a communication issue, a language barrier, a call veering towards unprofessional, or a Participant’s answers that don’t match their screener submission can unexpectedly turn the call sideways, skew your target audience and throw a wrench in the workday.

Pause, then politely communicate to the Participant that you would like to end the call. Keep in mind that even though the Participant didn’t meet 100% of your expectations - we’re human after all - there are some general protocols to follow:

  • Thank the Participant for their time

  • Don’t end the call abruptly

  • Offer feedback without critical commentary

  • Consider a partial incentive - reach out to Customer Success for assistance.

Research takes time. According to, a productivity software company devoted to working remotely, “trying to focus on more than one thing at a time reduces your productivity by as much as 40%, which correlates to the average desk job employee losing 2.1 hours a day (one day a week!) due to distractions and interruptions.”

Communicate your intentions clearly before allowing the Participant to enter the meeting. Ask each participant’s permission to record the session, if you didn’t include the request in your NDA. Set buffers before and after each appointment. Sync your calendar with Respondent’s calendar feature, so we can check for conflicts and avoid overbookings. Collect your thoughts and transcribe your notes. Start each new meeting refreshed and organized.

*The Importance of Communication Skills in Research ....

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