In 2011, GUTS conducted a different kind of research in order to find out how participants felt about being part of GUTS. What did they like and dislike? What would make taking surveys easier? What did they want to see on the GUTS website? What would motivate them to remain active in the study? How can we show them that we value their contributions?

Telephone interviews were conducted with 41 randomly selected GUTS participants from across the US. GUTS1 and GUTS2 were equally represented, as were males and females. Some were regular respondents and others hadn’t completed a survey in a while.

These open and thoughtful conversations provided the GUTS research team with important insights into what matters to GUTS participants and how their study experience could be improved.

Here are a few of the main themes we heard:

“What do you like about GUTS?”

  • The purpose and depth of the research, and that it’s a longitudinal study.
  • It’s important, worthwhile research that could benefit others.
  • The questions keep changing, so I’m always curious about what’s going to be asked next.

“What do you dislike?”

  • The length of the survey.
  • Some questions are too detailed or redundant.

Other important things we learned:

  • Many didn’t know they could complete their surveys online. They also weren’t aware of GUTS’ website and Facebook page.
  • Email is the best way to keep in touch.
  • They want to see the survey results and know how the information is helping others.

How we responded:

  • Convenience and accessibility are essential if we want participants to complete their questionnaires (and we do!). Questionnaires are shorter and can be completed online. Everyone in the study, whether they started in GUTS1 or GUTS2, will complete the same survey at the same time (January) every year.
  • The new GUTS website provides lots of info about the study’s results and accomplishments. Participants can log in to see some of their past responses. They also can find out interesting information about who else is in the study, like where they live (GUTS participants live all over the globe). An up-to-date list of published research articles demonstrates the contributions of the study and its participants. We’ll continue to add to this information as time goes on to keep the site fresh and keep visitors coming back.