Focus Group Confidentiality: Protecting Respondent Privacy
Maintaining confidentiality is essential to ensure the success of any focus group or marketing research project. This is especially true in cases when your research area deals with sensitive or personal information. In order to feel comfortable providing the sort of open and honest feedback that ultimately results in strong, accurate data collection, it is important that respondents are provided with assurances that their identities and individual responses will remain safe and confidential.
Start by informing all potential respondents of the topics to be discussed in your focus group and offering a general overview of their fellow participants (age, gender, demographics, etc.). This will provide your focus group participants with a sense of safety as well as the opportunity to opt out in advance of your marketing research project if they are uncomfortable for any reason.
It’s often a good idea to avoid using your participants’ real names in the focus group setting. If you decide that the nature of your research area necessitates this precaution, be sure to implement a uniform system of name substitution before the session starts. Instructing your focus group moderators and note-takers to use numbers, letters or pseudonyms to address and identify respondents over the course of the discussion is a great way to ensure anonymity for all participants.
Last, but not least, tell your moderator to begin and end each focus group session with a brief discussion on the importance of confidentiality, imploring all participants to respect each other’s privacy and anonymity. This additional level of assurance is a necessity since, although you can promise all respondents that their information will be kept confidential by project staff, it is impossible to promise the same level of discretion from other respondents.
For more helpful advice on how to maintain focus group confidentiality, stay tuned to the FPG blog or click on the button below to schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
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