Good research depends on good recruitment. Without high quality respondents, it’s impossible to generate the truthful insights needed to achieve change in the real world.

As ethnographic specialists, accustomed to recruiting people from within the places where they live, we know better than most the limitations of traditional market research recruitment. While they might fit the bill on paper, samples recruited from qualitative panels (who’ve signed up to be contacted to take part in research) are subject to biases that can seriously undermine the integrity of projects.

At best, they’re simply not representative: their keenness to participate exhibiting behavioural traits that distinguish them from the majority of the population. At worst, they’re outright dishonest – streetwise people playing the system to get picked and paid.

These issues aren’t always a problem. We regularly use quality ‘free-find’ agencies when the side-effects don’t jeopardise our objectives. But if you’re trying to understand particular behaviours, or certain demographic groups – especially vulnerable people or BAME – an over-reliance on panels will ensure you fail to engage the full range of relevant people.

That’s why our commitment to high-quality recruitment – built on our own in-house networks and capabilities – is so critical to the success of what we do. By making sure we’re talking to the right people, we’re able to solve the ‘sticky’ social problems that had had our clients stumped for years.