Experimental Evidence on Undergraduate Recruitment: Lessons from Creating a Subject Pool Registry

Laura Paul, Leah Palm-Forster, and Kent Messer

Recruitment of subjects is a critical step for any data collection. This project aims to identify the best practices for inviting university students by email to register for a program. We are creating a recruitment pool for future experiments at a large research university in the mid-Atlantic. Our email invitation will test the effect between two messages, randomly assigned to each student. These messages are based on lessons from behavioral economics: does a message mentioning the potential to receive monetary compensation for participation increase response of students? We will evaluate registration by message treatment to identify the most effective way to invite students to register. The introduction of this recruitment registry is a unique opportunity to address a research question on recruitment with a large sample size. To date, 20,696 experimental emails have been sent. In total, 1,216 undergraduates have registered for the participant pool after receiving an invitation, and there is evidence of a treatment effect (7.79% registered from monetary compensation message, 3.95% for control message).