Research respondent FAQs

People often wonder what to expect when they’re asked to take part in research with Shift Insight. Below are answers to the most common questions we hear. If you’re still unsure of anything, please do get in touch and we’ll happily give you more information.

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General information

How have things changed since COVID-19?

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve adapted our research to make sure our respondents and researchers are safe and continue to follow guidelines set by the Market Research Society. Most of our research is being done online or over the phone. You might hear more background noise than usual as our staff are working from home – please bear with us!

Who are Shift Insight?

We’re one of the UK’s leading market research companies – originally just focused on education, but now also running world-leading research around sustainability and membership organisations. 

Why have I been picked for this research?

Because your opinion is vital! If we have selected you, it’s because you fit specific criteria and have something to contribute. Our research is not a test of your knowledge, but a guided exploration of your experiences in order to shed light on our research aims.

How did you get my details?

There are several ways we might have been able to reach out to you for our research:

  • You are a member of our research panel. You may have taken part in research with us before and agreed to be contacted again for future research opportunities.
  • We’ve been passed your contact details by the client for whom we’re conducting the research. This will only happen if you had agreed with them that your details could be used for market research purposes.
  • We found your contact details through a publicly available source, e.g. on your company website.
  • A colleague of yours might have referred us to you.

We are careful to only contact people who we think are relevant for each research project and to make sure we are always abiding by GDPR on use of personal contact data. We’ll always offer you the ability to unsubscribe from mailings. If you have any other questions, please contact our data protection officer (

Is my data safe?

Yes, Shift Insight take great care to ensure we do not misuse personal data and keep this as safe as we possibly can. We’ll only store data that you’re comfortable with giving and you can withdraw from our research at any time. You can read more about this in our privacy policy.

When will I get paid?

The following applies if the research has a personal incentive attached:

  • In-person interview or group: you’ll receive your incentive in person at the end of the session.
  • Online/telephone interview: you’ll be paid 3-6 weeks after your interview date. The timings are slightly different for each project, depending on size. You’ll be told when to expect the payment during the session.
  • Survey: when you complete it, you can enter a prize draw. The winner will be selected at random and contacted after the survey closes.

The process for incentive payments might differ per research project, but you’ll always be informed of this before taking part.

Can I find out the results of the research?

Unfortunately, much of our research is commercially sensitive and results are not often shared publicly. However, it depends on the type of project. Please feel free to get in touch with the relevant project contact to find out.

Discussion / focus group information

What happens in a discussion group?

Discussion groups (or focus groups) might sound intimidating, but they’re essentially just a guided chat in a small group – usually around 6-8 people.

We will have a list of questions and activities and someone from Shift Insight will guide the discussion to make sure we get through it all and that everyone has a chance to share their views. Groups are usually made up of people in similar roles to you, so they are also an opportunity to share experiences and learn from peers. Participants often say how much they enjoy the sessions.

Do I need to prepare or bring anything to the group?

Usually, no. Just turn up ready to share your thoughts. If you do need to prepare anything, we’ll always let you know in advance. In most cases, we want to hear your initial thoughts and feelings, rather than pre-prepared answers.

Why do you pay people?

We recognise that you are taking time out of your busy day to help us and so, as a thank-you, we will usually offer an incentive, such as cash payments, vouchers or a charity donation.

What if I can’t come to the group anymore?

Our discussion groups are small and we rely on our participants to make them a success. However, we know that life can get in the way and unexpected things pop up sometimes. If you’re not able to attend a group anymore, please let us know as early as possible so we can invite somebody else to take part.

Will there be parking at the venue?

The London Viewing Room does not have parking. For groups held elsewhere, we will let you know when you confirm your place.

Do you cover additional expenses for getting to the group?

Unfortunately, we are not able to cover any additional expenses.

Will the venue be disability-friendly?

We hold our groups in a variety of venues – some are more accessible than others. Please get in contact with the person organising your group to discuss your requirements. We try our best to ensure our research is accessible to all and will do our utmost to make adjustments where necessary.

Research interview information

What happens in a research interview?

The interviewer will have a list of questions or topics they want to discuss with you and will be guiding you through these. Sometimes we’re able to give you an outline of the kind of questions we’ll be asking beforehand but, most of the time, our questions will change slightly based on your answers during our discussion.

Do I need to prepare anything?

In most cases, we want to hear your initial thoughts and feelings, rather than pre-prepared answers. If you do need to prepare anything, we’ll always let you know in advance. 

What if I can’t make my research interview slot anymore?

Once you’ve booked an interview, we’ll send you a confirmation email and a calendar invitation to help you plan around the interview. If you can’t make it anymore, please let us know as soon as possible and we’ll try to re-schedule.

Online survey information

Why did my survey take more, or less, time to complete than stated?

We run time tests on all our surveys to provide a rough guide, but survey lengths vary depending on your journey through the questions. The survey route is usually determined by answers you give to initial questions. Our surveys are designed to only show questions relevant to you and be as quick as possible to complete.

My browser crashed – have my answers been saved?

Your responses will be recorded, regardless of whether you are able to click the submit button at the end of the survey. However, you will not be able to pick up where you left off – unless you have been given a unique login to the survey or the recruitment email specifies you can ‘save’ your answers. If you still wish to provide a full response, you will need to complete the survey again. If you do not want your partial response included in the research results, please get in touch with our data protection officer (

I was not eligible for the survey – can I still participate in the prize draw?

Yes, you can! If you have kindly taken the time to complete any questions within the survey, you will still be eligible to enter, even if you are screened out. Please note, our winner selection process is done at random.

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If you’re not already a member of our research panel, you can easily sign up using this quick form to hear about future research opportunities, which are often paid.