Join these Real Life Market Research Projects in 2022

If you're like me, then you love to shop. Not just that, but I'm sure you have your favorite stores. It is amazing how once you know a store's layout, everything seems so easy to find. What's more, there always seem to be sale items that fit what folks in my neighborhood love to buy. But let's say you decide to shop at the same chain store but in a different neighborhood, like a Costco, Target or Walmart. You'll probably find that the store layout is a little different, and there may be different products displayed upfront or on sale. That's a result of market research, one of the most vital tools that retailers use to determine what to sell and how to sell it. But I bet you probably didn't know that you can actually earn some money getting involved in real life market research projects, many without having to change your day-to-day lifestyle.

What is Market Research

Market Research is the obtaining of consumer information in order to identify and define market opportunities and potential problems for businesses. In short, businesses look to see what products sell to different groups of people based on region, demographics, age, ethnicity, income and other factors. It is not a one-time thing either. Market Research is an ongoing process, as manufacturers, marketers, retailers and servicers constantly tweak their offerings to make sure that they are getting their message out to their potential customers. In this way, a market researcher can determine the persona of their prospective buyers, develop a target audience, and determine if their product or service offering is truly viable in the marketplace.

In the past, companies would look at sales figures and sometimes guess based on numbers what was and was not working. It often involved a great deal of luck and playing hunches. But as technology improved, so did Market Research. Computers allow market researchers to crunch the numbers, getting data from each store on every product. Now, they don't just find out what sells, but when it sells as well. In addition, they can find out who is buying it by matching sales to the backgrounds of buyers, like through preferred customer programs.

Nevertheless, market researchers, whether freelancers or dedicated ones for an industry or company, are constantly looking to get better and more specific information. This is where you come into play. Market researchers want to know what you like, what you don't like, what you buy, when you buy, and where you shop. The same goes for even messaging, like advertisements, political campaigns, and public interest projects. You are someone that a Market Research firm wants to know, and you can get paid for your information. Here are some ways to make some bucks through participation in Market Research.

Focus Groups

One of the oldest and most useful areas of Market Research is participation in Focus Groups. In the past, a focus group was a small gathering of up to 20 people who had been carefully selected based on their backgrounds. Maybe the group would consist of people over the age of 65. Perhaps the group was people who live in a rural community in Georgia. Sometimes the group would consist of people who work in the same industry, like postal workers or dental hygienists. The group is led by a moderator who might put on a brief presentation of a product or show a series of possible advertisements. After the presentation, the moderator would ask the participants by a show of hands what they felt about certain aspects of the product, service or advertisement presented. After the show of hands, the moderator would go around the room asking probing questions of each participant to get a sense of the real motivations of each member for the position they took. In this way, the moderator would be able to see what did and did not work with the product, service or presentation. In return, each participant would receive a small payment for his or her time.

In today's digital world, focus groups have left the conference room and now involve participants joining in often from the comfort of their own homes. There are a number of great websites where you can sign up to participate in a focus group and receive compensation for your time. For example, provides participation depending on which city you live in or near, and then compensates participants by check or Visa gift card between $50 and $200 depending on the focus group. User Interviews does market research and compensates between $25 for 30-minute participation and up to $200 for one hour. Respondent is another online consumer research group that also has in-person focus groups, with compensation of up to $500 for one hour if you are a qualified professional. Focus Group by Schlesinger performs online, telephone and in person participation that is geared towards technology, healthcare and food service. SIS International Research conducts focus groups all over the world. Simply register for their database, and they will begin to assign you to groups of about 6 to 8 similar people where you will get paid to give your feedback on such things as cars, appliances, and skin care products. Imagine making some extra money while helping to shape the products being offered in stores near you!

Mystery Shopping

If you love to shop, then you should become a Mystery Shopper. This is a great tool for marketers to see how stores are performing as you let them in on your experiences. Plus, you get to be paid for doing something you love to do!
Market Force operates an amazing Mystery Shopper program. Once you sign up, you will download Market Force's Eyes:On mobile app to your device. This will show you a map in available stores, restaurants, gas stations and even banks nearby. You will then schedule your "mystery shop" where you will be compensated for shopping at the location. Simply file your report and even take pictures of the store or other location, with an eye on customer service, product selection, cleanliness and other factors. Not only will be you be paid for your time, but in some cases you can even get free food or gasoline, a nice perk as well and something that is great for someone on a budget.

With Mystery Shopping, you also help retailers in your neighborhood find out if there are issues with their establishment. Often, the retail owner or manager wants to make sure that the staff is doing their jobs, and Mystery Shoppers help keep everyone doing their best job. In other words, you act as the eyes, ears and mouth for other consumers who live in your neighborhood. This is how you can get Market Research to compensate you and give back to your greater community.

Clinical Trials

With the Global Pandemic, we have all heard the term Clinical Trials being used with respect to the different Covid-19 Vaccines being manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and other pharmaceutical companies. The rapid development of these lifesaving vaccines has been one of the biggest stories of the year, but a less reported one was the anonymous men and women who participated in these clinical trials to make sure that the vaccines are safe and effective. These folks were compensated for their participation anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on their backgrounds. As we all know now, the trials were extremely successful. However, we owe it to these brave folks for agreeing to participate in the Clinical Trials, and they deserved every penny they got for their participation.

Every year, public and private research laboratories conduct clinical studies of diseases, medicines, cosmetics, treatments and disorders. The information gained from these voluntary Clinical Studies is valuable to scientists and researchers conducting them, which is why they compensate their participants. Participation is often determined on the basis of people who suffer from a specific disease or disorder, with compensation based upon the type of treatment and condition. In some cases, the pay may be only between $50 and $300 per day. In other cases, the participants can be compensated up to several thousand dollars, like in the Covid-19 vaccine trials. A great place to find out more information is at, which is operated by the US government.

Please keep in mind that participation in a Clinical Trial is not without risks. This is why you should review all pertinent information before agreeing to participate, and consider consulting with your personal physician as well.

Market Research may be perfect for you

If want a fun way to supplement your income, you should consider joining a Focus Group, becoming a Mystery Shopper, or participating in a Clinical Study. Each of these allows you to contribute valuable information to market researchers, shaping the offerings of goods and services in your community. In the case of Clinical Studies, you may even help save lives. You also get paid for your good deed, which is one more reason to sign up.