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What is a focus group: a case study
A focus group is a methodology of qualitative research involving a group of 8/10 people invited to discuss, share opinions and attitudes about a topic, a product/service, a new concept, an ad, or even an app or a website. When respondents are invited to assess the structure of an app or a website by surfing it then we are talking of usability test that is also something we can organize.
The discussion is guided by an expert moderator, usually with psychological and/or sociological competence, who encourages and stimulates the free expression of thoughts and opinions based on a “discussion guide”.
A focus group can last from 2 to 3 hours. Rarely, it can last even longer .
Focus groups are used by companies who wish to receive feedback from consumers or service users about a new product/service or an aspect of it, usually at an early stage of development or modernization of something that already exists, before it is launched onto the market.
How to set up a focus group
The recruitment of participants in a focus group is based on a screener, which is a questionnaire that, through filters, allows the recruiter to select the suitable participants to be invited.
The characteristics that must be respected are defined with the client company during the design phase of the market survey. Let’s take an example: if we have to select target people for a focus group of pre-school children’s game buyers, in the screening phase, through the questions, we will have to understand if the people who answer the questions have to do with preschoolers. So a first question of screening could be, for example: “do you have children or grandchildren between the ages of 3 and 5? And then we could ask: “and how often over the last year did you buy a game for them? etc. etc”.
Once the suitability has been verified, the screening phase ends with respondent’s confirmation and with the definition of the date, time and place of the meeting.
Each room is also equipped with a viewing room also known as one-way mirror room. Someone, perhaps remembering the story of Snow White, also calls them rooms with a magic mirror. These are real rooms equipped with a mirror that allows you to see without being seen by people who are on the other side. Often, such rooms can be seen in crime films. In our case they have nothing to do with crimes or complaints, but are rather used to allow customers to observe live and without being seen, the reactions of the participants during the focus group.
At the end of the meeting, all the participants are given a free gift as a sign of gratitude for the time they dedicate to the initiative. Generally these are shopping vouchers or gas vouchers but other times it is also possible to give online vouchers or real gifts like objects, watches, or anything else that could have something to do with the topic of the research.
Focus groups and modern technologies
Focus groups have always been audio or video recorded, to allow researchers or customers who cannot watch them live to see them again when it is most convenient for them.
With the widespread dissemination of the internet, new opportunities have also made possible for this new methodology. In fact, today it is more and more frequent for customers to watch focus groups connected through web-streaming directly from their office or even from their smartphone. All these features are obviously available for those who rent our rooms in Italy.
What is the difference between a traditional focus group and an online focus group?
The difference is obviously linked to the virtuality that accompanies the digital world, and that in the case of the online focus group allows participants to interact via chat or video with other respondents, while the moderator interfaces with them either via web cam or via chat. Thanks to the Active viewing system, Testpoint is able to offer its customers all the digital services necessary to carry out with professionalism and at low costs, all types of qualitative research.