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The goal of this article is to help you more effectively recruit executives and industry experts as candidates for your qualitative market-research studies.

Let's assume two points: (1) your studies are not appropriate for participants found on purchased lists, and (2) the participants will take part in a series of in-depth interviews (IDIs).

So how do you find your interviewees?

Rather than typing words or phrases blindly into search engines in an effort to find that "center mass" of expertise, you'll have more success if you follow the tips outlined in this article.


Google, or any search engine, has a great deal of potential when it comes to identifying candidates for a series of IDIs. Although anyone can search for anything with Google, the search engine supports many advanced techniques that are particularly useful for identifying interview candidates.

For example, Google can help you identify people who have given presentations on a particular subject.

Since PowerPoint is the lingua franca of presentations, you can use the "filetype" directive to narrow your search. By typing "solar power filetype:ppt" (or filetype:pptx or filetype:pdf), for example, you can limit the results to presentations on the topic, and those presentations often contain the presenter's contact information.

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image of Scott Swigart
Scott Swigart is a principal and co-founder of Cascade Insights (www.cascadeinsights.com), which delivers competitive intelligence and qualitative market research for clients in the tech field, both hardware and software.
image of Sean Campbell

Sean Campbell is CEO of Cascade Insights, a B2B market research and market services firm. A 20-year tech veteran, Sean establishes the company's strategy and drives its thought leadership. He is a popular speaker and hosts the B2B Revealed podcast.