What is a focus group?
A focus group is an opinion-seeking panel discussion in which participants are asked about their attitudes towards a product, service, or concept. Members share their ideas in a group setting of 8 to 10 people and the discussion is led by a professional moderator. Often the participants in each group have common traits, experiences, or characteristics that allow the discussions to be interesting, informative, and fun!
Besides focus groups, what kinds of research studies are there?
- One-on-one interviews
- Telephone interviews and focus groups
- In-home or in-office interviews
- Shop-along interviews
- Mock jury research groups
- Product testing interviews
- Website evaluation interviews
- Online surveys, focus groups and message boards
Why are focus groups and other opinion research studies conducted?
In today's competitive and challenging economy, many companies want input from consumers before introducing a new product or service. Your opinion helps in the development of goods and services that are part of our lives.
Who can participate?
Anyone can register to participate in a focus group, but since all projects are different, we have different criteria for each study. Some projects require consumer opinions while other studies may require the view of medical or financial professionals. We are interested in hearing from a wide variety of people, regardless of background or occupation. Panelists under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian's permission to participate.
How do I participate?
You need to register in our database by completing information about yourself. Some questions are optional, but the more details you give us about yourself, the more groups you will qualify for. Once you are in our database, we will notify you (via e-mail or phone whichever you prefer) whenever we have a study that fits your profile and interest. You will then be scheduled for a session at our facility.
Is my information kept secure and confidential?
YES! Opinions offered during our focus groups are used for the clients' research only and are not used publicly. Also, we adhere to the Market Research Association (MRA) code of ethics on data collection and your information is kept completely confidential. We do not give your information to any third party.
Once I join the database, what happens next?
Using a computer program your profile is compared to research studies we are conducting. If your information seems to match, we will contact you via e-mail or phone to ask if you are interested and available for the study. You will then be asked a series of questions, or "screened", to see if you qualify for the study. If we determine you are qualified we will pay you to come into our facility to participate.
What are my responsibilities as a participant?
We ask that you arrive early enough to allow for delays, allow time to get refreshed, and be ready to participate in the discussion. Life happens, we understand. However, like any commitment or job, let us know as much in advance as possible if you are unable to attend so that we may find a qualified replacement. We may be able to reschedule you for a different time, but we reserve the right to remove you from our list of panelists for no-shows or repeated cancellations. Participants are paid at the end of an in-person session, in cash or by check. If it is a telephone or online interview, checks are mailed within a week of the interview. We rely on the integrity of focus group respondents to conduct accurate and meaningful research for our clients so we ask that you be truthful in answering questions about yourself and your habits.
What's in it for me?
We know that your time is valuable, therefore participants are paid for their time and expertise. For consumer studies, compensation or "incentives" can range from $50 to $150 or more depending on the research and the time you are asked to be at the facility. Sometimes there may be a homework assignment where you are asked to keep a diary of your experience, make a collage, go shopping, take pictures and you are paid extra dollars for this extra effort. In addition to being paid for your opinion, you'll also have the opportunity to influence some of the products and services that you use everyday. Focus groups are fun as you get to share a discussion about a topic with people in similar situations as you. There have been many situations where people have become friends with those they have met at a focus group. Enjoy it. Focus Groups are fun!
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