As the reality of COVID-19 began to impact the research community back in March, there was a big scramble to move face-to-face projects to remote sessions. We saw a huge and rapid shift to using online platforms to conduct user research projects. Once we entered full lockdown and the dust settled, we had to adapt to a new online-only way of working.

During this period, we have been running our own series of surveys asking people how they are coping and the impact that coronavirus is having on their lives. We have published all this data for free here.

The trending topic now is about returning to some form of new “normal” and how that may look. For the research sector, this will depend on our collective ability to conduct in-person sessions again. The big questions we’re all facing right now is ‘are participants willing to take part in face-to-face research?’ and the measures we’ll need to put in place.

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To answer these questions, we’ve done our own research with participants and found out that, right now, 71.82% of participants would be comfortable taking part in in-person research, which involves coming to an office/studio and speaking to researchers in a room.

To share our findings, we put together a report that includes the following and more:

+ Our participants’ top concerns about attending face-to-face research and how you can prepare for the next phase.
+ Their opinion about transportation, the change from two to one-metre social distancing rule, and more.
+ The types of in-person research sessions that participants are comfortable with and more motivated to attend right now.

We’re using this powerful insight of what participants are willing to do, under what measures and what is expected of any responsible research company or team to have in place to make it safe, to ignite the engines of face-to-face research. At People for Research, as well as at our Bristol-based research facility User Viewing, we will be developing our own plans to return to safe face-to-face research, so our clients will be able to have at their disposal a safe testing environment.

Our complete report with all our findings, which is available for free, contains essential information to help the industry move forward and prepare for a return to face-to-face research in a way that prioritises the safety of both researchers and participants.

To receive this report in your inbox, please email

You might also find interesting this blog listing the top questions the user research industry has been asking (and trying to answer) during the pandemic.



If you would like to find out more about our in-house participant recruitment service for user testing or market research get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or

At People for Research, we recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner up with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.