It’s been a while since I’ve undertaken any qualitative research, but last week I ran two focus groups on behalf of a client.
As per normal, you go through the process, researching background information, gathering reference materials and writing a topic guide. On top of this you need to source appropriate candidates who you can rely on to attend the sessions and hopefully respond to the questions that they’re asked.
Despite being as prepared and organised as you can possibly be, there is always the apprehension before any focus group, as you stand there waiting to see how the group will go. Will anyone talk? Will they give response that is the information you’re seeking? Will you as the moderator be able to guide the session down the correct path to produce the required information for the client?
While I was setting up for my focus group, I had a panic moment when I couldn’t log into my laptop. I was using the same password, caps lock wasn’t on, and nothing was working. In my panic, I rang our DGM office in search of tech support. Two phone calls later and our trusty creative guy Cam – come tech support – asks the question… “Rach, do you have the number lock on?” “Um…Yes” = Fail. One of the ‘D’oh!’ moments for sure. I’m sure you can imagine the conversations the next day when I got back into the office.
After my mini crisis had been averted, the participants for the focus group arrived. I shouldn’t have been worried about them talking. This focus group was so engaged with the topic and the conversation, I couldn’t stop them from talking! It was amazing to see the responses they were giving and the insights into the brand. Time flew by and before you know it two hours had passed and we were wrapping up the night. I had a heap of information to supply to my client and the participants were all happy, having really enjoyed the session.
Overall it was a fun experience (minus the number lock incident). I’ll look forward to running focus groups in the future for our clients, and will think twice and then again before I feel the need to call tech support.
Posted by Rachel