How do I get survey participants

Find more survey participants quickly and easily

Marcus Wittkamp

Academic ghostwriter & senior supervisor


As an expert for academic work and scientific methods as well as for all economic disciplines, Marcus Wittkamp has been enriching our diversified team as a supervisor, senior ghostwriter and blog author for scientific topics for several years.

Updated on 08/21/2020

I got my first gray hair when I tried to get enough people to take part in a survey for my bachelor thesis.

Since then, I've made it my business to find a way to get as many participants as possible interested in a scientific survey and meaningful statistical data analysis. - I would like to share this path with you today.

Find participants for online surveys in your own circle

A first important starting point if you want to find participants for your online survey is your personal network. These can be friends, acquaintances, relatives or fellow students. Other possibilities are a notice on the bulletin board in your university, addressing possible participants directly, for example on "the street" or the famous word-of-mouth propaganda, where you ask your contacts to respond to your survey and ask them to do so to participate. So the more you talk about your survey or your academic research project as a whole, the greater the multiplier effect will be here, as other people will also begin to pass it on. It's really about using your personal networks here. For this it is essential that the title of your survey and the corresponding link is as self-explanatory as possible, linguistically clear and easy to remember, because then it can also be easily transported in personal communication. In addition, it should be immediately clear what your survey is about and what the title of your research paper is. This way, your project will be better remembered by everyone who comes into contact with it and will be disseminated faster.

Share a short video for more survey participants on Facebook, Youtube & Twitter

Social media is another important starting point for finding survey participants. There are many ways to place online surveys or links to them on Facebook. If you enter the search words "surveys", "online surveys" or "surveys" as keywords in the Facebook search, you will see that there are a large number of groups on Facebook that deal with the topic of online surveys or online surveys. Employ surveys. You can also post your survey there. However, it is important to ensure that the group also fits the topic of your survey, for example to a more business-oriented survey, to a more sociological survey or to a more pedagogical survey. In summary, a target group-oriented placement of your survey on social media is extremely important. Of course, you should also post your survey on your own account, which can then be linked again.

Another option is to use Twitter and work with the corresponding hashtags, such as #survey, #survey or the hashtag on your topic, which you want to investigate as part of your online survey. This in turn has the advantage that other Twitter users who use a similar or the same hashtag can refer to and link to your tweet. And that's why the same applies here, as with the other points, to use simple, meaningful, clear titles and links.

In addition, a short funny or exciting video can really work wonders when it comes to finding survey participants in the shortest possible time. It is so much more entertaining and personal than a short message such as "Hey guys, I would be happy if you could take 10 minutes for my survey." is liked ", shared or commented on, so that many people look at your contribution and become participants in your survey without much effort.

Not only find survey participants with a fancy tool, but also keep them

So that filling out your questionnaire is not monotonous and boring, you should choose a survey tool with a modern design and visually appealing elements. This is especially true for surveys that take several minutes. After all, you don't want your participants to end the survey prematurely because it is too monotonous. You are welcome to take a look at our blog article on the 6 best survey tools in comparison. Conveniently, these tools have lots of creative elements to help you make repetitive surveys more exciting. Also, some of the tools provide helpful and creative ways to share the questionnaire. So you don't necessarily have to study design or marketing before your survey to find participants for your survey.

The three best platforms for your online survey

It is also important to use professional platforms such as Xing. Xing is structured in a similar way to Facebook, which means that there are also special groups in which online surveys can be posted. Make a conscious search for the keyword "survey" within Xing and then you will relatively quickly find suitable groups where you can place the link or the invitation to your survey. Xing has an advantage here: it can certainly be classified more in the professional field, in contrast to Facebook and Twitter. This means that you have a very, very good chance of receiving high-quality answers from your survey participants, which in turn result in valid and reliable empirical data.

Another possibility is Thesis DLL. You can access the Thesis DLL via the German education server. This is an open source platform on which topics from dissertations are presented and at the same time providers of topics for dissertations also present themselves on the other side. For example, universities that "advertise" a topic on which a dissertation can be written. And this is also where possible participants in surveys on topics and dissertations exchange ideas. In this forum it is very, very useful to present your topic on the one hand and your survey on the other. The big advantage here is that the users of the platform are scientifically oriented clients. In contrast to Xing, however, it is now less geared towards the practical, professional, economic, business context, but really more geared towards the scientific context. Therefore, you will also find very high quality responses from valuable participants for your survey here.

And one last possibility that we would like to show you is Surveycircle. This is a platform specially created to find participants for empirical surveys. The idea behind this platform is that other participants have already presented themselves with a similar or a comparable survey, at the same time they have also submitted research results, which creates a kind of mole principle. This means that you will always find other participants with similar surveys and results on comparable topics. And they in turn will check Surveycircle to see whether there are any results on their topic that they can use. So if you have registered on Surveycircle with your topic and your survey, there is a good chance that your survey will be discontinued and then answered accordingly. In return, you should again post the results of your research there, i.e. follow the give-and-take principle. Here, too, you have the opportunity to receive high-quality answers to your survey.

Create competitions or raffles to find more participants for surveys

Create a small competition or raffle to find more survey participants. It's not about raffling off particularly attractive or valuable prizes - even a small prize, such as a € 10 Amazon voucher or a tank voucher, is an incentive for many people to take part in a survey.

Donate a small donation for each participant in your survey

Let's not kid ourselves - scientific surveys are often boring for participants and seem quite pointless to them. However, when this participation is helping earthquake victims or providing a starving child with a hot meal, many are always ready to fill out any boring scientific questionnaire. For example, to say "€ 1 per participant goes to SOS Children's Villages" has two advantages: You have not only found more participants for your survey, but you also have the feeling that you have done something good for your fellow human beings. - The aid organization should of course be determined by you beforehand and the promise made to the participants should definitely be kept.

Show the participants the progress of your survey

Our internal studies at GWriters have shown that on average 20% more participants actually complete a survey if they can estimate how long the survey will take. Be it through a "progress bar" or a time indication of the estimated remaining processing time. You should therefore definitely use a survey tool that offers such options.

Explain the goal of your survey to the audience

Many possible respondents ask themselves: "Why should I tell a stranger how often I turn on the TV, when I was last at the cinema or what kind of ice cream I like best - even though I don't know what for? What's the point? Survey? How will my data be processed? What is the purpose of my participation? " Give the participants a convincing reason why they should help you with your bachelor thesis and why your survey deserves their attention.

Creating a questionnaire: the classic way

A last possibility of how to attract participants would be the classic cover letter, very conservatively, by letter. Many will now consider this to be very old-fashioned, but the connection between a formal cover letter by letter and online surveys can be very effective, especially in the context of serious scientific work. Especially if you want to reach participants in companies, especially at higher hierarchical levels, then a cover letter in a classic letter can find many valuable participants for you. You can also enclose an accompanying letter from your university with the appropriate logo or a letter of recommendation from your professor, which underlines the seriousness of your request and can act as a door opener in many situations.

Of course, you should then place the link prominently in your cover letter, possibly also provide it with a QR code, so that the participant does not have to laboriously type in a URL. In addition, you should briefly explain what it is about and what the aim of your survey is and, of course, you should also present the recipient of this cover letter the advantages that they will have if they want to benefit from the survey. For example, that after completing your scientific work he will receive the results from you or maybe even get them presented free of charge.

Get support from GWriters!

There are many ways in which you can achieve both high numbers of participants and qualitative responses, regardless of the design of your survey. If you need support with the creation of your survey, with the survey itself or with the search and research for participants, then GWriters is happy to be your partner. We at GWriters are happy to support you with our diverse, professional services. So don't be afraid to contact us free of charge and without obligation.

We wish you the best of luck with your survey! If you have any questions, need support with your scientific work or want to share a tip, please feel free to use our contact form or leave a comment!


Marcus Wittkamp