Online focus groups
Online focus groups are divided into two main types, the more common chat based focus groups and the new webcam and audio based focus groups. The suitability of each type is dependant on the participants internet connection and whether they have access to a webcam and set of suitable earphones.
Chat based online focus groups
Chat based online focus groups are most commonly used and transcripts from the group discussions are available immediately. This type of focus group provides a degree of personal anonymity and participants are highly engaged, often commenting how enjoyable the experience was. This makes the moderators task of getting the individual to be open and honest an easy prospect. This is particularly evident when running chat based online focus groups where participants enjoy a greater level of personal anonymity.
Webcam & audio based online focus groups
Webcam & audio based online focus groups are more popular in metro and city areas where there is access to high speed ADSL broadband Internet. Video and audio groups require the participant to have access to a web camera and a set of earphones and a microphone. The video and audio session is also recorded and transcripts for these recordings are available immediately.
Which method to use is based on a number of factors including the available budget, the type of study, the sensitivity of the topic and the speed of the participants Internet connection.
Research suited to online focus groups:
- Advertising research
- Brand research
- Website evaluations
- Website usability testing
- Product evaluation
- Service evaluation
- Testing business ideas
- Business start-up research
- Consumer groups
A typical online focus group will run between 60 and 90 minutes and all that’s needed to login to the group is a computer, a compatible website browser such as Internet explorer or Firefox and an ADSL (broadband) Internet connection.
Online Community Discussion Boards
A research community discussion board is the next generation of the old style research bulletin boards and includes many of the new features offered by online communities. They enable you to quickly post discussion topics either manually or automatically at a scheduled date and time. The participant logs-in to the discussion board website using a unique username and password. The participant may then post a comment about the current discussion topic, either by computer or mobile device. You can reply to a comment and participants can respond to each other, rate topics, participate in private or open discussions, and complete polls and short surveys.
Over-time online focus groups using Group Quality’s discussion boards usually take place over a 3 to 7 day period, and can involve up to 30 participants who interact with each other guided by at least one board moderator. All participants can contribute at the same time in an open discussion or take part in an private interview with the moderator. A private discussion can take place with one moderator and a hundred participants and is an effective way of conducting a hundred one-on-one interviews at the same time.
The discussion board can also be used as a mini topic based online community to generate feedback about a particular topic, product, brand or to regularly engage internal employees or a customer segment. These community boards can last for days, weeks and months and typically involves a large number of participants. The length of time and the use of the community discussion board is dependant on the type of questions that need to be answered.
The advantage of using community discussion boards is that participants can log in and respond to questions in their own time and from any location. All the participant needs is access to a computer or mobile phone. The moderator can access the board at the beginning of each new day and reply to participant comments with probing questions, or create a new discussion items based on the responses from the previous day. The moderator can add images, surveys, videos and text question to each of the discussion topics.
The moderator can attach observation notes to each of the participants comments to assist with later analysis of the text transcripts. Observers are able to log in and watch the conversation as it unfolds. They can post a private comment for the moderator and other observers which is unseen by the participants.
The reports are delivered in a downloadable transcript complete with any participant votes, moderator notes, comments and replies organised by topic, date and time. The reports can be downloaded at any time during the board’s lifetime.
Online surveys are a quick and cost effective method of researching any topic, perfect for validating ideas, measuring customer satisfaction, employee feedback, and even qualifying people to participate in discussion boards and live groups. You can extract valuable insight from a small sample of a larger population of people to build a more accurate picture about that topic. Online surveys can be used for business and organisations across all industries and markets to find out the facts (e.g. number of males vs females), peoples preferences (which product would you buy) and populations behaviour (e.g. how often they use the Internet to pay bills).
Typically online surveys are used to gain fast and accurate data needed to support or refute a standing assumption. For example, “my customer would not use my product if I increased the price by 20%”. Online surveys provide even more insight when used in combination with online focus groups. Conducting online focus groups can reveal how people formulate opinions during the decisions making process. Insights about your target market is verified using online surveys to provide you with an accurate picture of how wide spread those opinions or behaviours might be. Confidently make decisions with the knowledge that you have the data and insight needed to execute your ideas.
Online surveys are suitable for the following:
- Advertising & communications
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer feedback
- Website surveys
- Competitor analysis
- Product development
- Employee engagement
- Community surveys
- Medical and health
- Audit surveys
Using GroupQuality, you can easily create your online survey and either invite participants personally or distribute or advertise a link to a survey. Results are available to view as soon as responses are received. You can also easily run reports to quickly see where responses are weighted and the comments as they are submitted.
How are the results delivered?
The GroupQuality technology captures and records all of the research session activity. You can monitor the results from any GroupQuality online research session as it unfolds at any time. These results are viewable on screen in the reporting area of GroupQuality and presented in a variety of easy-to-read formats such as text, graphs and pictures. You can also conveniently download chat transcripts which saves valuable time and money by removing the need to have these separately typed up.