Focus Group Participation: Asking The Right Questions
We began this week’s discussion of focus group participation with a look at how to effectively manage group dynamics. Of course, encouraging the active engagement of your respondents goes beyond group selection and dynamics management.
Once you have a skilled moderator in place and have taken the time to balance the composition of your group, you have to be sure you’re asking the right questions.
First of all, in order to ensure that all participants are comfortable in the focus group environment, it’s important to explain that there are no “right” answers or viewpoints. Experience shows that many people have a tendency to shut down or adjust their responses if they aren’t part of a consensus. Be sure to convey to every member of the group that consensus is not the goal of your marketing research project.
Once you’ve set the tone for your marketing research project, it’s time to start asking questions. This isn’t necessarily as simple as it sounds. Our decades of experience coordinating and conducting focus groups nationwide has taught us that, when it comes to encouraging respondent participation, not all questions are created equal. Here are a few tips and pointers to help you and your moderator formulate the most responsive focus group questions possible:
- Leave your questions open ended. This allows participants to tell the story in their own words and encourages discussion among all members of your group.
- Avoid asking “yes or no” questions. Single word responses don’t yield the sort of valuable, in-depth qualitative responses that you should be looking for.
- Avoid using quantifiers like “How much …” or “How often …” since these sorts of questions naturally limit the responses of your participants.
For more tips and suggestions to help you encourage focus group participation, check back in to the FPG blog later this week or click on the button below to schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
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