How To Avoid Focus Group Bias: Moderator Neutrality

Posted on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 08:05 AM

how to avoid focus group bias moderator neutrality resized 600This week on the Focus Pointe Global blog, we’re taking a look at ways to avoid focus group bias and gather the most objective results possible.

In our last post, we addressed the importance of avoiding leading questions in your focus groups and qualitative marketing research projects. Asking open-ended questions that don’t betray any preference or suggest a desired response helps to reduce the possibility of bias significantly.

The overall behavior and demeanor of the person asking the questions is equally important to ensuring the most unbiased responses possible. That’s why it’s essential that your focus group moderator should remain neutral and objective.

Since the focus group moderator is responsible for collecting the data that your marketing research project generates, he or she has a major impact on the quality of that data.

There are a number of factors that can affect focus group participant responses. If not properly managed, the moderator’s facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, manner of dress and style of language may bias respondent behavior and significantly impact the results of a focus group. Similarly, the moderator’s age, race, gender and social status may influence the responses generated.

Of course, predicting the pre-existing biases of your focus group participants and controlling every possible response factor is all but impossible. However, it’s important to focus on the influences that you CAN control in order to reduce bias as much as possible. With that in mind, focus group moderators should dress in neutral tones and styles, maintain a calm and even tone and, most importantly, be careful not to betray any personal opinions through their speech, facial expressions or body language.

For more advice on how to maintain moderator neutrality, click on the button below and schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.

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Be sure to check back later in the week when we will continue our investigation into avoiding focus group bias. If you’d like this and all future Focus Pointe Global blog posts sent directly to your inbox, simply enter your email address in the field to the right to subscribe.

Tags: focus group bias, qualitative marketing research, focus group moderator