So now that you have your participants, what's the best way to keep them engaged? Other than making sure to pay them well, the answer is communicate with them! Just like with in-person research, for online projects relationship building and expectation setting are extremely important. This guide will walk you through the different communication touch points you should consider when running your Revelation project.
Now that you've found your participants, you’ll want to confirm with them 1-2 days prior to the launch of your Revelation project. Depending on how your team is established, you may choose to reach out to the group directly, or your recruiter may prefer to perform the confirmation as part of their process. Depending on your preferred communication style you may want to keep it short or be more detailed, that's up to you! (You can see examples of confirmation emails in the attached document). Despite your style, elements you should consider including are:
- Topic of the project
- Dates the project will run
- Let them know they will receive an invite email on the launch day from studyspace.net.
- Incentive amount and how/when they will get paid
You should always begin your project with a welcome activity where you introduce yourself and the project. We recommend you do this in a video as it puts a face and voice behind the moderator which is extremely important for online research. Here is an example of text from a researcher video in a welcome activity:
Hello, I’m Jim and I’ll be working with you over the online portion of this project. Nice to meet you!
To participate all you have to do is log in each day and look at your TO DO list to see your new activities and answer any questions I may have for you.
Over the course of the project there will be questions and activities that may seem repetitive or similar to previous ones. That’s intentional so please do your best to answer each question fully.
If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting any issues, we’re here to help. If you have questions about an activity send me a message by clicking the envelope button at the top of the page. If you need technical support, click the "help" tab on the right side of the screen; submit a message and the support team will help you out as soon as they can.
Most importantly, be yourself. You’re here because we want to learn about you and what YOU think. Please know that we aren’t looking for a magical "right" answer but instead what’s "right for you." You’re the expert here!"
It's tempting to think of online research as a "set it and forget it" type of situation. However, if you want to have a successful project and engaged participants you'll want to rethink that approach. Because you don't have face to face interaction with your participants it's extremely important (especially in the first couple of days) to actively engage them through comments you make on their entries.
Virtual High Fives
If a participant does a nice job or even just submits their work on time a quick "thanks!" or "Nice job!" does wonders for participant morale.
When you want more detail on a participant's response, ask them! Use the comments area to ask them to clarify or elaborate. Just like with in-person research, you will sometimes need to guide participants a bit to get the depth of response you are looking for.
When running your project consider sending out daily reminder emails first thing in the morning. You can use these to mention any new activities that are launching as well as provide clarifications or give guidance to the whole group. There of course will be some people who fall behind and will need one on one reminders.
At the end of your project, make sure to send your participants a "hey thanks for all your hard work!" email. Also make sure to remind them on the incentive amount, the form they will be paid in, and roughly how long it will take for them to receive it. Closure is a very good thing.