The AQR Qualitative Research Recruitment Rules and Guidelines now appear on our web site, and the hard copy of the AQR and MRS version will be published later in May.

'Since focus groups have become common currency, we needed to re-establish the recruitment principles and processes they involve.'

Industry Comment

So just how do those concerned view the new guidelines? We publish selected feedback from industry members.

The Recruiter/Viewing Facility owner

As both a recruiter and director of a viewing facility, I welcome the new AQR guidelines. Often the time spent explaining, to a potential respondent, the guidelines we work to makes the difference not just to their agreeing to take part, but also to their attendance and enjoyment of the group experience.

It is essential that we tell respondents that they will be audio and video recorded when we recruit them. We occasionally have problems, within the viewing facility, when people are asked to sign for their incentive and their consent. They may complain of not being previously informed or refuse outright, feeling that their confidentiality and our credibility is being compromised.

Linda Gilbert, The Studio in St Albans

The Client

I think it is great that we are doing this, but the most important thing to the client is getting the right respondent. I don't care about the process ­ although I realise that this is important to those who are doing the recruiting ­ and find that its overall objective is not clearly stated in this set of rules and guidelines.

As a client, I take exception with the way that we are positioned in this document. We don't 'demand', we have 'needs'. The guidelines also argue that the client's identity should be revealed to respondents, but this denies us an element of surprise that can be valuable and, more importantly, confidentiality. We do not reveal in our qual research that we are the sponsors of the research as what we are sharing with people can be a competitive advantage if it falls into the hands of the wrong people.

It's unfortunate that the guidelines lack an explanation of how all these things matter. They also fail to rank the process.

Charlie Gower, Hutchison3G

The Field Controller

I think the guidelines give clear and concise instruction that can be easily implemented to enable the smooth running of a project. I don't, however, think that bonuses should be paid if a project goes to plan and is costed correctly initially. It should instead be used for difficult recruitment or for that bit of extra commitment that's given. This way, we can acknowledge recruiters on merit.

Michelle Barrett, Quaestor Research & Marketing Strategists

The Researcher

While our researchers do not currently carry identification, this is under discussion and we feel that they should always have identification available to show respondents.

Although all the researchers here do treat recruiters with respect, some can be unfair in requesting that recruiters buy coffee/tea/magazines, etc. to bring to fieldwork venues. The recruiters aren't being paid during their shopping time and, even though they can reclaim the money, it can often take up to six weeks to come through ­ which many cannot easily afford. This does not apply when they are requested to purchase product as part of recruitment, when the monies are sent in advance.

Emma Aspinall, Millward Brown