5. Select participants
After developing your research study and selecting your measures, it is time to start collecting data. Recruiting participants and getting people to be part of your study can be tricky. You need to consider the population from which you are drawing participants, how best to recruit them, and how to conduct your research project in a way that optimizes both the participant experience and data integrity.
Participant pools are a convenient way for researchers to access individuals who are willing and ready to participate in research. The Research Portal provides you with three options for recruiting participants: Sona Systems, CloudResearch (formally TurkPrime) and Social media.
In the video that follows (1:12") Sarah Van Dam presents the options available to GDPA students and other users.
Options for acquiring research participants
Please note that the first option (Sona Systems) is available to Monash students only.
How many participants will I need?
One of the pivotal aspects of planning a study is the calculation of the sample size (i.e. the number of participants in a sample). Ethics committees, journal reviewers and grant-awarding bodies are increasingly requesting that all research be supported by sample size estimation and power analysis in order to justify any study and its findings. Guidance on sample size requires that the number of participants recruited should be enough to achieve meaningful results, but should not be too high as to involve unnecessary recruitment and burdens to participants.
To perform sample size calculations, you can download and install GPower on your personal computer from the Universität Düsseldorf official website. GPower is a free and open source program widely used for sample size and power analyses calculations. It is available for both Windows and Mac.
Shall I pay the participants?
In exchange for participants' time and any incurred costs (i.e. parking, travel, internet usage), researchers may wish to reimburse participants. This can be done by offering some form of monetary exchange, entry into a raffle-type draw for a prize or course credit. Both Sona Systems and TurkPrime offer ways in which participants can be reimbursed for their participation in your study.
When deciding whether or not to reimburse participants, it is essential that this is discussed thoroughly with your supervisor/research team. Reimbursement has the potential of being viewed as an excessive incentive and can breach ethical codes of conduct. If you wish to reimburse your participants, this also needs to be outlined in your ethics application in detail and you must receive approval prior to offering reimbursements.