Case Study: How to Use Segmentation in Qualitative Recruiting

The insight collected from qualitative and quantitative market research is only as valuable as the sample of people recruited to participate. In other words, if you are conducting market research to improve a product, service, or brand then participants must closely align with your target audience.

For example, if you are a manufacturer of winter coats and you would like to use consumer feedback to generate new ideas for next year’s line of jackets, then it would not be wise to survey people living in Phoenix, California.

In order to gain the most accurate insight, market research participants must be representative of your market as a whole. This may range from people of different ages, demographics, political views, and more. Trust us, there is a difference between good participants and good research.

A qualitative recruiting company, like Drive Research, can help assure your recruitment sample is completely representative of your target audience and/or the market as a whole. To understand more about our recruitment process, read the case study below in which we discuss recruitment segmentation for in-depth interviews (IDIs).

Case Study: How to Recruit a Representative Sample for Qualitative Research

In order to gain the most accurate insight, market research participants must be representative of your market as a whole. Learn how to achieve this with a qualitative recruitment company.


A nonprofit organization was looking to hire a market research company for a consumer recruitment project. The client needed a third-party partner who provided qualitative recruitment services and a facility to host in-depth interviews – both of which Drive Research can, and did provide.

The objective of this qualitative research study was to explore and understand the narrative that people have regarding poverty in America. The client requested our qualitative recruiting company seek out groups of people who had four different types of perspectives on the matter.

Ultimately, the nonprofit organization would take feedback obtained through in-depth interviews to soften the ground for poverty policy change and understand how they can make this change can happen.

Qualitative Recruiting Process

After learning more about the client’s objectives in a 30-minute kickoff meeting, Drive Research developed a screener survey based on this conversation and pre-drafted materials from the nonprofit organization.

The process to recruit participants for in-depth interviews included paid randomized social media ads to the targeted audience using behavioral and interest groups, our in-house panel, and our sourcing software.

Our market research company always develops an online survey of questions to pre-screen audiences before sharing more information about a study. Those who qualified for the in-depth interviews received a re-screening and confirmation call to ask additional questions.

From there, participants received a confirmation email, a confirmation call one or two days before the session, and a reminder text the day of the session.

Recruiting a Reprehensive Sample of Participants

Drive Research, who specializes in market research for nonprofit organizations, was tasked with recruiting a wide variety of participants. Each audience has specific criteria around ethnicity, political views, education, household income, and religion.

Expected targeting criteria for the in-depth interview recruit included four audiences:

  1. Strivers: People who still want to believe in the American Dream
  2. Apathetics: People who self-identify as not caring about the issue of poverty
  3. Progressives: People who identify as socially liberal
  4. Bootstrappers: People who believe that individuals should pick themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and make it on their own

In addition to recruiting for different segments of people, urbanicity was also screened to ensure participants from a rural area, suburban area, and urban area were interviewed.

It is important to note, these are very difficult audiences to find in Upstate New York particularly with the lack of diversity among populations. Also, the majority of interviews occurred during normal working hours, forcing participants to leave or take off of work.

Hosting In-Depth Interviews in Syracuse

In addition to recruiting qualified participants for the interviews, the nonprofit organization used our facility in Syracuse, NY to host the research.

Although Drive Research provides trained moderators and interviewers for qualitative research, the client chose to moderate each 90-minute in-depth interview. Drive Research was responsible for recruiting participants, re-screening participants, sending confirmation emails, collecting homework, reminder calls, and reminder texts.

The interviews took place on Thursday, January 23 from 11:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m. and Friday, January 24 from 9:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.

Our Syracuse focus group facility is centrally located in New York State, giving plenty of opportunities to acquire the mix of participants needed for this study.

Take a video tour of our research facility in Syracuse, New York.


Achieving a Perfect Show Rate

A total of 10 interviews took place between two days. Our qualitative recruiting company recommended overrecruiting for this project to have participants standby in case of a no show.

In other words, if a participant did not show up for their 90-minute interview, the client would be able to have a backup participant and not be ideally sitting for an hour and a half. For this reason, 15 participants were recruited for in-depth interviews, 5 of those being used as “floaters.”  

Interviewees were offered $125 as a thank you for their feedback. The floaters attended and confirmed availability for the 3-hour block, earning $125 for the first 90-minutes and a full $250 if they were needed for the second time slot.

With this approach, our qualitative recruitment company succeeded in achieving a perfect show rate for the in-depth interviews. All 15 participants recruited joined the nonprofit market research regardless of needing to find hard-to-recruit participants. 

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in New York. Our team has the knowledge and tools to quickly find representative participants for your qualitative research, cost-effectively.

Interested in receiving a proposal or estimate for a qualitative recruitment project? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Market Research Case Studies Qualitative Recruiting