• C.E.K. & Partners

Conducting an Online Survey or Focus Group? Here are 5 Reasons Why the Screener Matters.


Every day we design and conduct market research studies for privately owned companies to leading health systems and Fortune 500 companies. We recently shared tips for writing an effective online survey, which you can read here.

When collecting data and insights, whether for a quantitative online survey (such as a brand tracking study, an annual customer satisfaction survey or an NPS study) or for a qualitative study such as focus groups online or in-person, the participant screener matters.

What is a market research screener?

Screening questions are those that determine whether or a not a person qualifies (e.g., age, gender, purchasing habits) to participate in your market research study whether it is focus group or online survey. The idea is to filter out unsuitable candidates upfront and quickly.

For example, if you want to conduct market research study of moms with young children, a few screening questions might include:

S1. Please indicate your gender.

  1. Female

  2. Male

TERMINATE if S1 = b “Male”

S2. Are there children (under age 18) living in your household?

  1. Yes

  2. No

TERMINATE if S3a = b “No”

If the market research is focused on moms, males would not qualify for the study. And if the women who participate must have children under the age of 18, those who don’t would be screened out by the above questions.