Running a Study with Multiple Waves of Participants

You can host multiple waves of participants in a single study. Designing your study with multiple waves in mind is recommended to ensure the best experience for participants across each wave. Studies can also be copied to facilitate unanticipated waves. This article includes considerations for:

Participant access must be live on a site in order for participants to log in. Review your Site Subscription to ensure you have an upcoming phase of access for the second wave.

Designing a study for multiple waves of participants

Setting up a study for multiple waves is similar to setting up a study for a single wave. However, additional consideration will need to be taken when configuring:

  • Activity dates 
  • Notifications
  • Response visibility
  • Participant management

Activity Dates 

Each Activity must have a start date and a due date. The Due Date can be modified as needed throughout the study, however, the Start Date cannot be changed once it has passed. 

We recommend programming your Start and Due dates to correspond with the schedule of the first wave. The Due Dates can then be edited to correspond with the next wave when needed. This will prevent Activities from appearing as overdue to participants in the second wave.

Participants are able to complete any Activities that have already started. If all Activity Start Dates are in the past, participants in the second wave could complete all Activities in one sitting. Consider posting a proposed schedule for Activity completion on the Home page using a message card.

If you wish to be able to change the activity start dates to reflect the schedule of completion, consider using separate studies, which will allow you to update the start date per activity, under Activity setup.


Participants in the second wave will not receive the New Activity Available notification as the Activity Start Dates will be in the past. Instead, Moderators can send an email broadcast to remind participants of Activities they must complete.

Response visibility

If the Activity responses in your study are public or unbiased, it is important to note that participants in the second wave will be able to see the responses of participants from the first wave. 

If you wish to keep the responses of each wave completely separate, consider using separate studies.

Participant management

After the first wave wraps up, it is essential that you deactivate or remove the first wave of participants from the study. Participants who are not deactivated or removed will be able to log in during the second wave. 

Deactivating or removing participants from the study will not remove any of their response data. 

Running new participants through a copied study 

If the original study was not designed with a second wave in mind, you may prefer to run the new participants through a study copy. A study copy will be an exact duplicate of the original study’s Home page, Activities & Tasks, Discussions, etc. 

The data from the copied study will not aggregate with that of the original study within Recollective. Once exported, response data can be combined externally using Excel, Google Sheets, etc. 

To run a new wave of participants through a study copy:

  1. Change the state of the original study to CLOSED. This will prevent the first wave participants from logging back in once the site goes live for the second wave. 
  2. Copy the closed study.
    • Note: You must be an Analyst to copy a study
  3. Update the Activities Start and Due dates to match the schedule for the second wave.
    • Note: It is possible to change the Task configurations if you wish to add or modify questions for the new wave. However, adding and/or modifying Tasks may change the configuration of the Activities transcript making aggregation with the transcript from the first wave more difficult.  
  4. Modify any other study settings as needed.
  5. Change the state of the copied study to OPEN.
  6. Add and invite the second wave of participants.
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