Online and traditional focus groups

Typical operation[ edit ] A moderator invites pre-screened, qualified respondents who represent the target of interest to log on to conferencing software at a pre-arranged time and to take part in an online focus group. It is common for respondents to receive an incentive for participating. Discussions generally last one hour to 90 minutes. The moderator guides the discussion using a combination of predetermined questions and unscripted probes.

Online and traditional focus groups

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Log in or go back to the homepage. Published on February 14, Recently Advertising Age carried a front- page article talking about the trend toward using the Internet to conduct online focus groups "Safe at any speed?

This was one of many articles that have appeared in marketing and marketing research publications in recent months as more organizations try to utilize the Internet to save money and increase the speed of getting qualitative research results.

While there may be some benefits to conducting qualitative research online, it is important for marketers to understand what they are losing by using the cyber medium to conduct their study, and specifically why this type of research is not an effective replacement for well conducted focus groups.

Specifically, it reviews some of the key reasons why traditional focus groups are effective, and how the online version could not overcome its problems by offering somewhat lower costs and faster timing.

Online and traditional focus groups

An experienced moderator is in complete charge of the group activities and is able to ensure that everyone participates and that the focus of the discussion remains on target. It is virtually impossible to establish authority from behind a computer screen.

A well conducted focus group utilizes this interaction to explore topics in more detail and to draw out the feelings of each of the participants based on their reactions to what others in the room have said.

This is not viable in an Internet environment. Often the non-verbal inputs can be as important as the verbal in determining the reactions to various ideas. It is impossible to address non-verbal reactions in an online focus group. All participants in the traditional focus group are re-screened at the facility with photo IDs.

Thus it is almost impossible to have some in the session who should not be there.

Consumer companies are embracing private online networks as a cheaper, more effective alternative to traditional focus groups or phone surveys. The latest twist on focus groups is the move to an online format. Using chat and Web conferencing technology, the Internet has made it possible for people from around the world to gather online, eliminating travel costs and other logistical problems associated with traditional face-to-face focus groups. Our international teams are world-class experts in economic growth, governance, security and justice and evaluation and research.

In the online environment, however, it is impossible to tell who is behind the computer screen. Further, as identified in the article, it is possible for stimuli from an online session to be left in cyberspace for others to find and utilize to their benefit. In traditional focus groups, with client personnel viewing the sessions live behind a one-way mirror or via remote broadcast locationsthe communications of the group are much more convincing than in an online environment.

Online focus group - Wikipedia

Further, with the client in the back room, it is easy for them to become part of the overall process as they can talk to the moderator during the session and make suggestions relative to areas that need to be discussed. While it definitely is possible to send stimuli, such as pictures or a concept statement, to participants in cyber groups, the full impact of this material is often lost in the two dimensional environment of the computer screen.

The vast differences in the quality of screens and the ability of users to download the materials further exacerbates this situation. It is essential that the marketing community not become too enthralled with using the Internet to conduct qualitative research. While there may be a role for this vehicle in the very earliest stages of the process, it clearly is not a viable substitute for well-run, traditional focus groups.

Greenbaum is president, Groups Plus, Wilton, Conn. He moderates more than groups per year in a variety of product and service categories.Focus Forward is an equal opportunity employer. We offer the same opportunities to every individual regardless of race, religion, religious creed, color, age, sexual orientation or preference, national origin, marital status, gender, ancestry, disability or handicap, veteran status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local law.

“I have been involved with traditional focus groups for years and was a little apprehensive at first with an online focus group. However, after experiencing 2 online focus groups I would recommend this process over the traditional any day. Online focus groups have an advantage over traditional focus groups because they reduce Travel Costs Ranking questions generally produces ________ level of measurement.

“I have been involved with traditional focus groups for years and was a little apprehensive at first with an online focus group. However, after experiencing 2 online focus groups I would recommend this process over the traditional any day.

Best Online Master in Social Work Programs of strives to provide the most accurate and helpful information on all types of CSWE accredited online . An online focus group is one type of focus group, and is a sub-set of online research are typically an appropriate research method for consumer research, business-to-business research and political research.

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