Participant FAQs

Have questions about participating in a paid research project? We've got the answers.

A Focus Group is a small group of individuals who share their opinions, perceptions and attitudes towards a product, service or website – all in a group setting.

A Usability Session is a one-on-one session where no other individuals are participating but you. A usability session typically involves you using a product/website, while in conversation with the moderator. This is the most common type of research we conduct.

Absolutely not! We are only interested in your opinions and feedback. While you may be asked questions such as, how interested are you in learning more about product XYZ, we only need your feedback on the product or website.

Usability studies and focus groups take place in our labs located in Irving, Texas (near Dallas). Free parking is located in our front parking lot. However, we occasionally conduct usability studies in other cities. If you are selected to participate, you will receive an email with full parking instructions.

The information you supply during the initial survey is only used to pre-qualify participants. Those questions determine whether or not you will receive a call for further screening. They are not part of our study and are discarded after each study.

This could be for several reasons.

  • You may not qualify based on your experience or demographics – or you may have already participated in a study with a similar topic.
  • We also need a mix of demographics per study and yours may already be filled by the time you complete the online survey.
  • Certain studies are unavailable to specific job industries due to the content of the study. This changes from project to project.
  • Our standard policy is a 6 month grace period, thus most studies have a requirement that you could not have participated in any study within the past 6 months.

You are always welcome to call us with any questions but we typically cannot screen you on the spot, unless you’ve completed the online survey. We prefer that you complete the online survey first as we screen qualified users in the order they fill out each survey. Be sure your profile is up to date so that you revive the initial email invites. If you need to update any information in your profile, please email us at

Each user is eligible to participate in one study every 6 months, if of course, the user qualifies.

If you participated in a previous study in the past 6 months, you will more than likely not hear from us until that 6 months is almost up. Be sure to check your spam folders and ensure we are on your safe sender’s list. Also, check out our Facebook page for available studies.

We understand circumstances can change very quickly so we want to give each user an opportunity to participate in case their home/marital/etc has changed since they were last in. Additionally, sometimes we cannot disclose too much about the study and/or the requirements, thus we send these types of invites to a larger sample of individuals.

If you need to update any information in your profile, please email us at

We do not create any of the products and/or websites you will be evaluating. Our clients only hire us to help improve their products/websites. So please be very honest (yet respectful) in sharing your opinions and feedback. You won’t hurt our feelings!!

Sessions typically last 1-1.5 hours, but some last as long as two hours. Others may only last 30-45 minutes in duration.

Floaters and extra users are considered backup users in case scheduled users are unable to participate for any reason. They are both asked to come to our offices during their scheduled time and will wait to see if he/she is needed. A floater is a user who is scheduled as a backup for 2 or more sessions in case of a no-show or cancellation. Floaters are typically paid more compensation because they have committed to cover 2 sessions, if needed.

An extra user is a user who is booked as a backup for one session in case there were any cancellations or no-shows on the day of the research.

Yes, but this is only for research purposes. All information is used for in-house research.

In most cases, you will receive a check from Usability Sciences as soon as the session is over.

At this time, most of our studies are completed in our Las Colinas (Irving) offices. On occasion, we may have an online ‘paid’ study or we may be asked to conduct some remote studies, but our in-house studies are our most popular studies at this time.

Usability Sciences focuses on technology, and as a result, most of our studies involve websites, applications, software and/or technology device research. We do not conduct research on any food or prescription drug sampling.

Sometimes clients are very interested in hearing feedback from someone who is experiencing the website/product for the first time. In some cases, it will be a website you already used, but in other cases, it may be something you are seeing for the first time.

We’d certainly prefer that you keep your regularly scheduled session time, but if a conflict does surface, please call the recruiter who scheduled/screened you immediately. Also, if you try and reschedule too late, all the sessions will typically be filled.

Yes, especially if you were recruited for a one-on-one session. Unlike focus groups, where 6-8 individuals are scheduled for the same time, our one-on-one sessions are just that, one person. We have a set number of sessions and need users who can participate and commit to their scheduled time. Also, if you try and reschedule too late, all the sessions will typically be filled.

We typically conduct all of our studies during normal business hours to accommodate our clients and building staff. Although, we do have some studies that offer evening sessions (e.g. teachers, students, and professions/industries that do not have flexible work schedules.).

Unfortunately, we cannot allow children to accompany you to our offices, unless they have been scheduled for a session. If you have small children, please make arrangements for someone to care for them.

Yes! Occasionally, we will have studies your children could participate in.

We have found that food is too much of disruption during studies, as we are typically on a tight timeline, thus we cannot provide full meals.

Yes. Only USC recruiters may view your information.

You can register for our database to receive direct invitations for any of our upcoming studies by going to

Your responsibilities as a participant are to arrive to your session on time and be ready to provide feedback while being honest regarding likes, dislikes and opinions. All of the information you provide will help us assist our client in making their website/product more user friendly. Most of all, Have Fun!

You can be removed from the data base by emailing us at

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