Why Localized Market Research Recruiting is Key in Japan

Why localised recruitment plans are needed in Japan

Are you planning to conduct market research in Japan? Don’t let the country’s demographic homogeneity fool you. While Japan may not be as diverse as the US, where there is much more diversity regarding race, ethnicity, and cultural background, there is more diversity than meets the eye, and localizing your recruitment efforts is crucial for accurate results. That means working with local partners to find the right participants who can provide valuable insights into your study.

Contrary to common online panels, a network of locals with connections to specific communities or demographic groups makes it easier to find and recruit participants who meet specific criteria. This hand-picked approach can further help to ensure that participants feel comfortable with the research process and are more likely to provide accurate and honest responses.

In addition, when it comes to recruitment screeners, researchers can’t just copy and paste questions from their US-based studies. To ensure accurate recruitment in Japan, localizing recruitment screeners is crucial. Market researchers must adapt their screeners to Japanese cultural norms, language or regulations (e.g., the legal age of drinking or driving, etc.) to ensure it is relevant and appropriate for the local population.

As an example, in the US, questions about race and ethnicity or broader gender options are commonly included in recruitment screeners. However, in Japan, questions about family relationships are more common. Market researchers may want to include questions about the participant’s family relationships, such as whether they have siblings or live with their parents. This information can help researchers understand the participant’s decision-making process and perspective on the study topic. In contrast, such questions may not be as relevant in recruitment screeners for studies in the US, where individualism is typically more emphasized, and family dynamics may be less significant in decision-making.

Coming back to the topic of broader gender options in the US, Japan still has relatively little awareness and acceptance of non-binary gender identities. Therefore, for most research studies in Japan, it is not necessary to ask participants about their preferred pronouns or gender identity. Instead, it is better to stick to male and female as gender options, the most recognized gender categories in Japan. However, some studies could require more inclusive gender choices, depending on the study topic. We just want to preface by saying it may be a challenging recruitment criterion in Japan. In these cases, researchers should be sensitive to the cultural context and consult with local experts to ensure that the study is conducted appropriately and with cultural sensitivity.

Furthermore, in Japanese culture, it is uncommon for people to state their personality traits explicitly. Instead of asking participants to select their personality traits, a more suitable way to ask about personality is to frame it as a question. For example, instead of asking, “Which of these personality traits best describes you?” researchers may ask, “In what situations do you tend to act in a certain way?” or “How would you describe your approach to problem-solving?”. These types of questions allow participants to express their personality in a more indirect and context-dependent way, which is more aligned with Japanese cultural norms.

By localizing recruitment screeners, you can improve the accuracy and reliability of the recruitment process and increase the likelihood of recruiting a representative sample of the Japanese market, and that’s where we come in.

At CarterJMRN, we get it. We know that successful research in Japan requires a localized approach, so we offer comprehensive market research services beyond recruitment. We partner with our clients to develop studies and content tailored to the Japanese cultural context, ensuring you get the insights you need to make informed decisions. So, why settle for generic research when you can work with us to get accurate and culturally sensitive results? Contact us today to learn more!

Our goal is nothing less than to help you create a successful partnership between your brand and the people who trust it.

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