Whew! You’ve got your diary study started and you’re off to the races. But what about your participants?

After the recruiting and scheduling of your participants AND building out your research plan, it’s easy as the researcher to become fatigued. But your research participants—they’re just getting started! How do you keep them motivated and their responses high quality?

Incentives are a big part of keeping participants engaged, and we’ve got guidance on how to use payments to your advantage.

It’s best to break down your payments throughout the project plan. Paying the full incentive upfront can decrease participants’ willingness to stay in the study, but waiting until the end can be demotivating. Think of sending incentive payments like celebrating important milestones in a race: the start, the halfway point, and the finish line.

Acknowledge the start 🎉
After they’ve sent their selfie back to the obvi text, which completes their sign-up, be sure to reward them. This reassures participants and motivates them to get started on their first assignment. The diary study is now in full swing!

Starting payment: 10-15% of total incentive

Mark important milestones 🏃🏻‍♀️
Who doesn’t like to know their progress? A midpoint payment will remind participants their insights are important. You can’t do the research without their participation and contributions. A small midpoint payment will keep your participants motivated and interested in continuing.

Midpoint payment: 10-15% of total incentive

Celebrate the end 🏁

Everyone likes to celebrate when they hit the finish line!  After the diary study is complete, reward your participants with their final payment. We recommend saving a bigger amount for the end to encourage participants to finish the entire study. It also ends the project on a high note!

Final payment: 70-80% of total incentive

By following these incentive guidelines, you’ll create a positive experience for your diary study participants...and help everyone cross the finish line.*

*Some participants may need extra encouragement on their assignments. Nudge them gently with a reminder if they need one!