How to Set Up an Internal Research Participant Panel for Your User Research Studies

Piyush Kumar
December 06, 2022


User research is a vital part of any product development process, yet it can be difficult to find willing participants for your studies. One way to overcome this challenge is by setting up an internal research participant panel.

A research participant panel is a group of people who have agreed to take part in user research studies on an ongoing basis. This can be an effective way to get the data you need while also building better relationships with your users.

In this blog post, we will explore how to set up an internal research participant panel, including tips on recruiting participants and managing the panel over time.

What is an "internal research participant panel"?

An "internal research participant panel" is a group of people who have agreed to participate in research studies conducted by a company. This panel may be made up of customers or end-users. The panelists may be recruited through advertising, word-of-mouth, or other means. Internal research participant panels can provide companies with a quick and easy way to access potential research participants. They can also help to ensure that the participants are representative of the target population.

However, there are some disadvantages to using an internal research participant panel.

First, the participants may not be truly representative of all users of the product or service being studied.

Second, the panelists may be biased in favor of the company conducting the research.

Finally, the panelists may become jaded if they are asked to participate in too many user research studies.

Participant talking to a user researcher

Why use an internal research participant panel?

There are many reasons why you would want to use an internal research participant panel for your user research studies.

First, it allows you to tap into a pre-existing pool of potential participants who have already been screened and approved by your organization. This can save a lot of time and effort compared to recruiting new participants from scratch.

Second, an internal panel gives you more control over the composition of your study group. You can specifically target members that match your desired demographic criteria (e.g., age, gender, geographic location, etc.). This can be helpful in ensuring that your results are representative of the population you're interested in.

Third, using an internal panel can help build rapport and trust between your organization and its employees. This is especially important if you plan on conducting regular or recurring studies, as it will make it easier to recruit participants for future studies.

Finally, an internal panel can provide a cost-effective way to conduct user research studies on a regular basis.

How to set up an internal research participant panel

Establishing an internal research participant panel can save your company time and money while providing a valuable resource for your user research studies.

Here are some tips on how to set up an internal research participant panel:

1. Define the purpose of the panel. What type of user research studies will it be used for? This will help you determine the size, composition, and structure of the panel.

2. Recruit members for the panel. Customers who are willing to participate in user research studies should be recruited first.

3. Set up a system for managing panel members. This system should include a way to track contact information, schedule studies, and send reminders about upcoming studies.

4. Inform panel members on how to participate in user research studies. Provide information that covers topics such as ethics, confidentiality, and how to provide feedback effectively.

5. Thank the panel members for their participation. Be sure to show your appreciation for their time and effort by sending thank-you notes or giving small gifts after each study.

How to manage an internal research participant panel

Assuming you have the buy-in from your organization to set up an internal research participant panel, there are a few things to consider to make sure it's successful.

First, you need to identify who will be on the panel and what types of user groups they should represent. You also need to decide how often you'll need to recruit new members as well as how you'll keep track of panelist contact information and preferences. It's important to set some ground rules for panelists, such as confidentiality agreements and compensation expectations. You'll also want to give them a clear understanding of what types of user studies they may be asked to participate in.

Finally, you need to establish a process for working with the panelists and conducting user studies. This includes deciding who will be responsible for scheduling studies, conducting debriefs, and collecting feedback.

Pros and cons of using an internal research participant panel

There are a number of pros and cons to using an internal research participant panel. On the plus side, participant panels can provide a more convenient and cost-effective way to recruit research participants, as well as a more consistent pool of participants. This can be especially helpful if you need to recruit a lot of participants or if you need to frequently conduct user research studies.

On the downside, participant panels can sometimes be less representative of your target audience than other recruitment methods. Additionally, it can be difficult to keep your panel engaged and motivated over time.

Finally, you will need to invest time and resources into maintaining your panel (e.g., managing contact information, sending out reminders, etc.).

Tips for setting up and managing an internal research participant panel

Here are some tips for managing your panel once it is set up. First and foremost, it is important to keep your panelists engaged. If they feel like they are being ignored or that their input is not valued, they will be less likely to participate in future studies.

To keep them engaged, make sure to send out regular communications (such as a monthly newsletter) and give them opportunities to provide feedback on research studies (such as through an online forum).

Another important tip is to keep your panel diverse. This will help ensure that you have a wide range of perspectives to draw from when conducting research. When recruiting new members, be sure to consider factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and occupation.

Finally, make sure to compensate your panelists for their time and effort. This can be in the form of monetary compensation, gift cards, or other perks. By showing your appreciation for their participation, you will encourage them to continue taking part in your studies.


Having an internal research participant panel can be a great way to streamline your user research studies. By having a group of people that you can rely on to participate in your studies, you can save time and money by not having to continually recruit new participants.

Additionally, you will be able to build up a rapport with your panel members, which can lead to more productive and informative studies. If you are thinking of setting up an internal research participant panel, we hope that this article has given you some helpful tips on how to get started.

Also, if you want to recruit the most diverse and verified participants, get in touch with us.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Thank you for subscribing.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Piyush is originally from Lucknow and could go on and on about "Lucknowi kebabs" and "Wes Anderson movies." He enjoys observing, conducting user interviews, and learning about people's behaviours and attitudes. He would spend his free time with his Oculus VR headset. Say hi to him.