Building Trust with Parents: 5 Strategies for Recruiting Kids in Qualitative Research

Building trust with parents is one of the most critical elements in recruiting children for qualitative research studies.  Parents play a pivotal role in guiding and supporting their children during the research process, so it is essential for recruitment agencies to build a positive rapport with parents and gain their trust.  In this article, we emphasize the importance of fostering a strong relationship with parents and offer 5 strategies for creating a comfortable, respectful, and supportive environment during the research recruitment process.

  1. Be Transparent

Transparency is crucial when working with parents. Recruitment firms must ensure that all communications regarding study details are accurate and clearly outline the objectives, methods, and potential benefits of the research study.  Consent forms, for example, should include an overview of the study design, any potential risks or discomforts, how the study data will be used, and how their child’s privacy will be protected.  Sharing this information upfront ensures parents understand both the risks and benefits of participation and enables parents to make an informed decision about their child’s participation.

  1. Foster Open Communication

Establishing an open line of communication with parents is key to building trust.  Parents should be provided with a designated point of contact that they can reach out to throughout the research process.  All questions should be answered promptly and with clear and concise answers.  Parents should be encouraged to ask questions and express any concerns they may have during the process—this will ensure they feel heard, valued and involved in their child’s participation.

  1. Address Parental Concerns

Parents may have various concerns about their child’s involvement in a qualitative research study, ranging from safety and data privacy to potential emotional impacts.  Recruitment teams can address these concerns by providing detailed information in project communications and the consent form about the study’s safety measures and protocols.  Recruitment teams should also inform parents of any certifications they may hold regarding child research or data privacy. Here at Touchstone, we are a kidSAFE+ COPPA Certified company. This means that we have undergone a thorough review of our panel and research processes to ensure that we meet the highest standards for child safety and protection, and adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Click here to learn more about our kidsSAFE+ COPPA certification.

  1. Create a Child-Friendly Research Environment

Making children feel comfortable when participating in a research study is essential to ensuring the accuracy and validity of the results, as well as upholding the integrity of the study. To create a comfortable environment for children, it’s crucial to establish a positive and welcoming tone from the outset.  Before interviewing the child, have an “ice-breaker” conversation with the parent and child—during this time you can introduce yourself, explain the purpose of the study and answer any initial questions the parent and/or child may have.  It’s also important to use age-appropriate language and avoid jargon or technical terms that the child may not understand.  

During the research session, it is important to provide the child with clear instructions and offer breaks throughout the study to help children feel more relaxed and comfortable. Moreover, actively engaging the child throughout the study by using games, fun activities, and other interactive methods can help them feel more excited throughout the process. By taking these steps, researchers can ensure that children feel comfortable and engaged throughout the study, which can ultimately lead to more accurate and meaningful results.

  1. Obtain Informed Consent

It is crucial that recruitment teams develop a comprehensive consent form that outlines the study’s purpose, procedures, potential risks, and benefits. Recruitment teams must then ensure that the parents understand their child’s rights and the voluntary nature of their participation in the research. Parents should be given ample time to review the consent form, and provided with the opportunity to ask questions before they sign.


Building trust with parents is essential in recruiting children for qualitative research studies. This article has emphasized the importance of fostering strong relationships with parents and provided five key strategies for creating a comfortable and supportive environment during the research recruitment process.

Touchstone Research understands the significance of building this trust and offers qualitative recruitment services that adhere to these best practices. By prioritizing transparency, open communication, addressing concerns, creating a child-friendly environment, and obtaining informed consent, we ensure both parents and children have a positive research experience. These efforts lead to more accurate data, ultimately benefiting the field of research and our clients.

Learn more about Touchstone’s approach to Qualitative Research with children here.