When it comes to behavioral research methods, finding ways to engage and retain participants in behavioral research is a constant battle.

  • Is your survey completion rate abysmal?
  • Do follow-up calls feel intrusive and inconvenient for participants?
  • Are you struggling to keep them engaged and invested in your study?

Low adherence rates, clunky data collection methods, and frustrations with communication can all derail a well-designed study. A powerful tool for boosting engagement lies right at our fingertips: text messaging.

This article is for research teams looking for methods in behavioral research that support study engagement.

Behavioral Research Methods That Actually Move The Needle

Unlike emails or phone calls, text messages offer unique advantages for researchers trying to keep study participants engaged in the research process.

Direct and personal

Text messages land directly in participants’ pockets, bypassing spam filters and the purgatory of voicemail.

Convenient and accessible

Study participants are more likely to open and respond to texts than emails, especially as this is something that they can do on their mobile devices, which are always at arm’s length.

Interactive and two-way

Texting fosters dialogue between research teams and participants, allowing researchers to gather real-time feedback, answer questions, and provide support, leading to a more positive participant experience.

Flexible and customizable

From medication reminders and surveys to motivational messages and educational content, research teams can tailor text messaging for behavioral research to specific study needs and participant preferences.

6 Ways Of Using Text Messaging To Engage Participants 

You can deploy test messaging in a few different ways throughout the research process to improve engagement:

1 – Pre-study recruitment

Research teams can encourage potential participants to enroll by sending concise information and study updates via text. It’s like sending a mass email without a shockingly poor open rate.

2 – Onboarding and consent

You can clearly explain study details, obtain informed consent, and schedule appointments through convenient text exchanges.

3 – Data collection

You can send brief, targeted surveys, collect daily reports, or administer assessments directly through text messages. This will inevitably lead to higher response rates and richer data.

4 – Reminders and adherence

Research coordinators can motivate participants to stay on track with gentle nudges, timely medication reminders, or progress updates. This will reduce drop-out rates and improve compliance.

5 – Motivation and education

You can share educational resources, offer encouragement, and gamify participation through points and rewards. This can make the study experience more engaging and enjoyable.

6 – Post-study follow-up

Teams can maintain a line of communication after the study concludes, express gratitude, and gather valuable feedback via text-based interviews or surveys.

How Text Messaging Streamlines Research Team Workflows

The benefits of text messaging extend beyond participant engagement, making research life easier for teams:

Reduced administrative burden

Automate tasks like reminders, follow-ups, and data collection, freeing up researchers for more critical analyses and interpretation.

Improved data quality

Using text messaging as a go-to communication channel, you can receive data directly from participants in real-time. When executed effectively, this can minimize errors and reduce the need for manual data entry from research teams who are rushed off their feet at the best of times.

Lower expenses

Text messaging eliminates (or at least drastically reduces) the need for phone calls, emails, and printed materials, ultimately lowering research expenses. Sure, you will still need to leverage a range of communication channels, but you can limit your dependency on costly channels that offer little upside.

Enhanced accessibility

Reach participants who may not have reliable internet access or prefer text-based communication, diversifying your research pool.

3 Things To Consider When Implementing Text Messaging Software Into Your Research Study 

While text messaging offers immense potential for research teams, there are some crucial considerations for successful implementation:

1 – Privacy and security

Research coordinators must ensure data privacy and security by using secure platforms like Mosio that adhere to ethical guidelines for text-based communication.

2 – Message frequency and content

You should avoid bombarding participants with texts. It’s best to keep messages concise, relevant, and personalized to avoid fatigue and maintain engagement.

3 – Opt-in and opt-out options

You can allow participants to control their communication preferences and provide an easy way to opt out of receiving texts if desired.

Texting Your Way To Higher Levels Of Study Engagement

By integrating a text messaging platform like Mosio into your technology stack, you can build stronger connections with participants, streamline data collection, and boost overall study engagement. Whether you’re conducting clinical trials, social science research, or community-based studies, incorporating text messaging into your research toolbox can open doors to richer data, deeper insights, and ultimately, more impactful research outcomes.