4 Steps for Putting Qualitative Research Confidentiality Into Action

4 Steps for Putting Qualitative Research Confidentiality Into Action

There is almost nothing worse than a breach of data security that will drive your clients out the door. In qualitative research, confidentiality is a major priority. Why? You might ask—because it gains your clients’ trust.

According to Quirks Magazine, over 70% of people quoted that security for identity, privacy, theft, and fraud is very important to them. People are abandoning brands left and right because they feel their personal information is at risk.

To achieve the highest level of confidentiality for the best qualitative research results, a great deal of behind the scenes work is necessary to make it all happen! Here is a sneak peak at how top-rated qualitative research firms uphold confidentiality and data security!

STEP 1: Preventing Bias

If a criminal were put on trial you wouldn't want their best friend in the jury box. In order to prevent bias, respondents must not know the identity of the organization conducting the research.

  • Throughout the entire recruitment process at no time is the client’s name revealed to the potential respondents. (Occasionally, there are instances when the client gives permission to be identified to respondent, but this is rare.)

STEP 2: Respondent privacy

"Secrets, secrets are no fun, unless they are for everyone." Well, you can FORGET THAT. The little nursery rhyme you learned in pre-school does not apply to any kind of marketing research.

  • The respondent’s personally identifiable information (PII) must be kept in a secure database. The last thing you want is for respondents to be contacted left and right by marketing research firms.
    • PII is used to validate preliminary screening criteria as well as to keep track of past participation.
    • The respondent’s PII is updated on a regular basis. The PII database is not only helpful to m aintain security, but can also make recruiting efforts more efficient.

STEP 3: Client and Respondent Separation

You wouldn't put a Yankee and a Mets fan in the same room, and you definitely don't want your clients in the same room as your respondents. Firms must make sure the right person is in the right place.

  • Receptionist: The receptionist is more than just a friendly smile or wave hello. As participants walk through the door it is the receptionist's role to know, "who is who" and who belongs where. The receptionist is responsible for determining the client from the respondent!
  • Separation of clients and respondents: For in-person marketing research, clients should be kept in a private area, separate from respondents. The ideal situation is when clients and respondents have separate rooms AND separate entrances.
  • Separation of respondents: Similar to how a firm separates clients from respondents, it is just as important to separate respondents according to their appropriate research groups. When multiple projects are taking place it is imperative that respondents are placed with their correct group. 
  • Picture ID: Upon arrival, respondents are required to provide a picture identification to participate in a qualitative research study.

STEP 4: Confidentiality

It's great to talk about your day around the dinner table—as long as that day has nothing to do with in-person qualitative research!

  • Confidentiality forms must be signed by each and every respondent. What happens in the focus group stays in the focus group.
    • Confidentiality forms ensure that the respondents understand they are not allowed to discuss what is said within the focus group.

Expect the Best


A successful research project establishes client trust and delighted clients that will not only return, but will refer you to their colleagues! 

At Group Dynamics we take the extra steps to guarantee that the highest measures of security are taken for your projects. If there was no secrecy in market research, projects would meet with disaster, along with the data collected.

Expect the best — the highest level of confidentiality will attain the highest level of qualitative research results.

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The Essential Checklist: How a Qualitative Research Firm Does High Quality Recruiting