Case Study: Education and Reading Market Research

Here's the challenge: find parents with a child going into 3rd grade next school year who are willing to participate in an 8-week study. In addition, find parents who own an Android phone, fit specific income requirements, have WiFi in the home, and make sure nearly half of the sample represents minority ethnicities. Sound challenging?

Learn more about how our qualitative market research company blew this recruit out of the water for our client in New York, NY, Appleton, WI, Houston, TX, and Charlotte, NC. We found over 160 parent and child combinations who participated in this important summer slump market research study.

Do third grade students get into a summer reading slump which impacts reading levels? With help from our education market research company, the client sought to find out.


An educational development organization hired Drive Research to conduct a qualitative recruitment market research project. The client was looking to recruit 160 families to participate in an 8-week study in July and August 2018. The study examined rising 3rd graders by providing them a tablet to understand if they experience less of a ‘summer slump’ in reading skills.


To address the objectives at-hand, Drive Research recruited 40+ families in 4 communities across the United States totaling a sample size of 160. Our qualitative recruiting company over-recruited to account for no-shows and drop-offs during the fieldwork. Our market research company utilized pre-qualification email surveys and targeted re-screening calls by telephone to find eligible participants for the study. Drive Research utilized its in-house digital marketing recruitment capabilities which allowed our team to target parents of specific ages of school-aged children. The social media targeting also allowed our team to target parents who own an Android smartphone which was a requirement of the study. Drive Research partnered with a national recruitment firm to back-fill participants as needed in the markets.

Drive Research utilized the feedback obtained from the kickoff meeting to create a recruitment screener in a Word document. The screener included questions recommended by our survey team based on past qualitative and education market research as well as customized screening criteria for the needs of the client. The pre-qualification screener took 3 minutes to complete online and included about 15 questions. The screener was digitally targeted to rising 3rd grader families in the select markets as well as emailed to a list of panel members using our partner network. The combination of these approaches ensured full feasibility for this very difficult to recruit audience. One single sample pool would not have provided enough participants to meet goals.

Once pre-qualified, participants received a follow-up telephone call to verify interest and information in the study. Additional information was provided about the process, requirements, and dates at this time. The call also inquired on types of activities the child was interested in and topics or kinds of stories the child likes.

Following the call, participants received a confirmation email from Drive Research. This email required a “yes” reply. Participants also received a confirmation call prior to both the opening and closing sessions.

The following 4 markets were chosen due to proximity of sample available and the ability to digitally target this niche audience. Research facilities in each of the 4 locations were used for the beginning and ending sessions for participants which was completed through 2 separate visits. Light food and beverages were provided at the 3 rented facilities. The locations included: (1) New York, NY (hosted at the client offices), (2) Houston, TX, (3) Appleton, WI, and (4) Charlotte, NC.

The overall sample of recruited participants was 30% to 40% non-white (including Latino, Black, and Asian families). About 50% of families were middle-income ($40,000 to $120,000 HHI), 25% low-income (under $40,000 HHI), and 25% upper middle or upper income ($120,000 or more HHI).

Recruited families had a rising 3rd grader (completed 2nd grade by June 2018), a parent-owned Android smartphone with an operating system of M or higher (no iPhones), an interest in helping their child keep up their reading during the summer by monitoring their time on a tablet, and showed encouragement to their child to read. Participants were able to speak and read English, did not have an IEP, and were not enrolled in a formal academic summer school program.

Participants agreed to: (1) have the child access/use the tablet regularly over the 8 weeks (at least 5 hours week or an average of 20 to 45 minutes per day), (2) install the Family Link on their Smartphone so they can monitor and support their child’s tablet use (set up will take about 30 minutes), (3) fill out a weekly parent log that comes to their Smartphone, (4) fill out an online pre/post questionnaire, (5) read research consent forms and consent to the research, and (6) attend 2 60-minute orientation sessions with their child on specific dates.

Participants received a reward of $300 at the conclusion of the research and use of the new Android tablet for their child for the summer. Some households were granted a Wi-Fi hotspot if necessary. Both were returned at the end of the study).

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Drive Research is a market research company and qualitative recruiting company in the United States. We work with all types of clients to assist with recruiting needs for a variety of industries. Questions about your next project? Need a quote? Contact us.

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