Executing an effective focus group can be a daunting task. First, identifying the proper participants and assembling them at a mutually agreeable time is, on its own, practically a full-time job. Then, there is the actual facilitation of the meeting, which requires a great deal of preparation. Questions need to be prepared in advance, and a script written and then reviewed for potential bias. Finally, the focus group discussion must be evaluated for significant findings and the results documented in an easy-to-use format. Sometimes, the very logistics of focus groups are show-stoppers.
Fortunately, modern technology may alleviate these burdens and expedite the process from weeks to a matter of hours.
In the not-so-distant past, focus groups relied 100 percent on in-person interaction. At best, these geographic restrictions introduced logistical headaches. At worst, geographic limitations introduced unintentional bias. Today, modern virtual conferencing technology makes it possible for focus group participants from all over the world to communicate as if each individual were sitting in the very same room. Technology lets researchers reach beyond their own borders and collect feedback on a global scale.
Whereas in-person focus groups do not allow for one-to-one communication between participant and moderator, virtual focus groups give researchers an additional layer of communication from which to gain insights. Private chats, instant polls and multiple choice questions can be gathered and analyzed in real time. Collecting and manipulating data on the fly lets researchers be more agile and optimize the conversation toward a particular outcome; perhaps even an outcome that could not have been foreseen while preparing the agenda and script.
A focus group is only as good as the insights it yields. Using an online transcription service to record every spoken word is the most efficient way to review and analyze the discussion that took place. When verbal conversations are transformed into digital data, the possibilities become nearly limitless. Search, sort, query and correlate. Focus group transcription makes it possible.
Conducting focus groups need not be a logistical nightmare. Leverage these modern-day best practices and supercharge your next focus group.
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