Re-contacting Participants in Market Research

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Ethical practices are non-negotiable. This article explores the core principles of obtaining informed consent, navigating re-contact guidelines, and upholding ethical standards to ensure responsible and respectful participant engagement.

Re-contacting Participants in Market Research

Key Highlights:

  • Obtain informed consent before collecting any participant data

  • Re-contact is only allowed if prior consent was given

  • Be specific on the purpose and nature of re-contact

  • Get separate consent from minors and responsible adults

  • Respect participant privacy and withdrawal of consent

Ensuring Informed Consent:

When undertaking any market research study, the foundation of ethical engagement lies in securing the informed consent of participants before collecting or utilizing their data. Our user-friendly Consent Forms feature is designed to empower you in effortlessly making customized consent forms and obtaining secure digital signatures from your respondents.

As stated in the MRS Code of Conduct, “informed consent is a process by which a participant voluntarily confirms his or her willingness to take part in a particular project, after having been informed of all aspects of the project that are relevant to their decision to participate”. The BHBIA Legal and Ethical Guidelines also clearly state that "you must obtain informed consent from market research respondents, willingly given, to collect and use their data".

Re-Contacting Participants: 

So what about re-contacting healthcare research participants after a study is complete? There are strict rules and guidelines to follow:

After the completion of a healthcare research study, re-contacting participants demands meticulous adherence to rules and guidelines. Per BHBIA guidelines, re-contact is only permissible if participants have previously provided consent during the recruitment process. Vague inquiries like "Can we contact you for future research?" are unacceptable. Instead, specificity is key. Clearly outline the purpose and nature of re-contact, elucidating who will be reaching out and for what precise reason, be it for a distinct second stage of the current study or new follow-up research.

Consent for Minors in Healthcare Research: 

When dealing with minors, compliance with ESOMAR mandates a dual consent approach – one from the responsible adult and the other from the child. This underscores our commitment to a comprehensive and ethical engagement with younger participants in healthcare research.

Data Retention: Quality Checks and Privacy

ESOMAR also advises setting data retention periods for re-contact data that are as short as realistically possible, while still allowing reasonable time for quality checks to occur. Non-panel participants who take part in ad hoc studies should have shorter retention periods than panel members.

Respecting Privacy Choices:

Importantly, if a participant withdraws consent, you cannot attempt to re-contact them again. Their privacy and preferences must be respected.

Ethical Practices:

By steadfastly adhering to best practices around consent and re-contact protocols, you can ensure that healthcare research is conducted ethically, responsibly, and with utmost respect for participant privacy. Our Consent Forms feature serves as a pivotal tool, simplifying and digitizing the consent process.

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