person Guy Potter access_time September 17, 2018
How To Become A Respondent For DIY Research

Understanding the self-service survey process in order to get even more effective results can be a bit of a learning curve, which is why it’s always worth getting ‘under the skin’ and learning more about how it works.

One way is to become a research respondent. That way, you can see the data-gathering side of a survey, therefore getting a better understanding of the overall process. It may prove an invaluable experience, and the great thing about it is that it’s very easy to do.

Where to find surveys

There are a range of ways you can become a survey respondent, which can either be direct with a research agency, through a panel company, an advert, email or word of mouth.

One of the best and most reputable places to find good online survey providers is on Moneysavingexpert, as they have all been vetted and approved by participants. There are also many companies that specialise in providing panels for surveys; simply do a Google search to find the best and most established organisations.

On the whole, the research industry consists largely of reputable companies that adhere to industry ethics and guidelines, but there are the odd few that may not work to the same rules.

To understand this distinction, most, if not all, research agencies are accredited to either the Market Research Society (MRS), the main UK industry body or ESOMAR, the main, global industry body. Another sign is if a survey company asks you to pay a registration fee. This is definitely not good or standard industry practice, so do avoid these organisations.

Why take part in online surveys?

Good online surveys can be done quickly, whether it’s in your spare time, during a lunch break, in-between school runs, or after work. They shouldn’t take up significant amounts of your time, as they should be quick, easy and leave you feeling positive about the experience.

Another great thing about online surveys is that they can also be done on a mobile phone, which means you can complete a survey anywhere, even on the move. Just make sure you have the time and space to focus in order to produce fair and balanced results.

Surveys can also be good fun. We’ve seen some great, light-hearted surveys, ranging from latest thoughts on Love Island, to which politician has the best poker face or whether you would take your mother clubbing – and everything in between! It’s also great to see a survey you’ve participated in being mentioned in the press.

On the flipside, surveys aren’t always about fun subjects as you can also be part of the political or news agenda. Your response could make or break a political situation, change opinion and help make a difference.

What does a good survey look like?

In a nutshell, good surveys are short, simple and easy to answer. Long-winded questions and lengthy surveys need commitment, which means you may get bored and leave half way through. This will have an overall impact on results.

The ultimate aim of any survey is to get respondents at their best and that’s why being to-the-point is key. It’s also important to get them completed when you are at your most alert. And, to save you the hassle of having to check for updates all the time, the majority of online survey providers will send e-mail alerts to notify you of a survey and to get you started.

With agile research you can easily see new surveys when they are online, but because they can be ready and closed in as little as an hour, you do need to respond quickly. Once completed, the results will show-up immediately on the client’s survey dashboard, that’s why it’s crucial questions are brief and clear.

Do bear in mind that if you’ve had a busy day or you don’t look at personal emails until the evening, you may be tired and not in the best frame of mind to do a survey, or you could even miss one entirely, so do make sure you allocate time in the day to check emails and get involved.

In summary, the two key things to note about being a respondent are that long surveys and tiredness may lead to a negative mindset and could potentially skew results. Participating when you’re at your best and most alert will provide the freshest results.


There are a range of ways to reward you for taking part in surveys, and the most common form is through payment, which could be anything from £.50p – £20 per survey or more if you are in a niche group, such as doctors / architects / IT Professionals etc..

Other forms of reward could be vouchers, which, again, can vary in value depending on your profile.

Market research forms the bedrock of so many elements shaping today’s society, including retail, finance, socio-economics, PR or marketing; whether it’s a PR survey, post-campaign analysis, political viewpoints or product reviews, survey respondents help shape and inform opinion. They are the lifeblood of marketing, politics, economics…you name it. And, guess what? You can be part of it!

To become a respondent for Maru/Usurv, simply join up to a reputable panel, and, who knows, you may be lucky enough to bump into one of our super short surveys.

Guy Potter is maru / usurv's head of research and clients.
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