Human factors research plays a critical role in enhancing the safety, usability, and effectiveness of products, systems, and even pharmaceuticals. Recruiting participants who represent the intended user population is crucial for obtaining insights that can lead to breakthroughs.

This involves various steps, such as identifying the target audience, crafting the research study's goal, determining channels, creating participant profiles, establishing incentives, and communicating with participants. To ensure accurate and representative data, researchers should blend the creativity and intuition of effective communication and participant engagement with the precision and rigor of statistical methods and techniques.


The Art of Recruitment for Human Factors Research

To ensure the success of recruitment for human factors research, a systematic approach must be adopted that considers the needs and challenges of the intended user population. This involves determining the characteristics of users, such as age, gender, education level, and experience. Once the target audience is defined, the research study's goal must be crafted to ensure that it aligns with the intended research questions. The goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

The next step is to determine the channels you'll use to attract participants, which could include social media, online forums, and patient advocacy groups. An important note on recruitment channels: whatever method you choose, make sure there are safeguards in place to ensure high-quality participants (and therefore, high-quality insights).

A few to consider are a comprehensive authentication process to reduce bots, condition-specific screeners to narrow the pool down to only participants that meet your criteria, and a quality review process to ensure the insights you get are effective and actionable


The Science of Recruitment for Human Factors Research

The science of recruitment for human factors research involves using statistical methods to ensure a representative sample size that provides accurate results. To calculate sample size, consider factors such as the research questions and level of precision required. Another important factor is diversity. User representation in the sample is crucial for comprehensive understanding and minimizing bias, especially when you are conducting market research for medical devices. 

Response rate techniques, like personalized invitations and reminders, can enhance recruitment quality - as well as engagement with the MedTech device more generally throughout the research project. And finally, recruitment metrics and measurements, such as conversion rates and screening efficiency, can help researchers track the recruitment progress and identify areas for improvement. Following these strategies enables rigorous and accurate data collection, leading to design improvements that meet the users’ needs.


Best Practices for Recruitment in Human Factors Research

Recruiting participants for human factors research can be a challenging task that requires careful planning and execution. Let’s briefly explore some of the best practices for recruitment in human factors research in the healthcare industry.

Building rapport with potential participants

Building rapport with participants is essential to establish trust and facilitate honest and open communication. At Thrivable, we focus on Diabetes research and recruitment because of our founding team’s strong ethos and lived experience with the disease. This gives us the ability to build relationships in the diabetes space that other research firms can’t. 

Ensuring privacy and confidentiality

Participants' privacy and confidentiality must be protected throughout the research process. Researchers should take measures to ensure that participant data is secure and that only authorized personnel have access to it.

Optimizing recruitment through technology

The use of technology can improve recruitment efficiency and help reach a broader audience. Researchers should prioritize quality review, anti-fraud technology, and comprehensive authentication processes.

Incorporating feedback from participants

Incorporating feedback from participants can improve the research process and lead to more meaningful insights. Researchers should encourage participants to share their experiences and opinions and use this feedback to refine their recruitment and research strategies.


At Thrivable, we live and breathe research recruitment for our MedTech, pharmaceutical, and agency partners. We see recruitment as a critical aspect of human factors research that can significantly impact the quality and accuracy of data collected.

For internal research teams looking to build breakthrough products in the diabetes space, we hope these recommendations provide a path forward as you recruit for upcoming research projects. If you’re interested in outsourcing recruitment and tapping into our database of 2M+ data points from current, verified patients, feel free to set up a call with our team.

About the author

Adam Zandman

Adam Zandman

Adam, Thrivable's Marketing Director, is a passionate advocate for improving the patient experience, driving companies to prioritize the patient voice in their decisions