6 Essentials Of Effective Focus Group Note Taking
In our last post, we took a look at some of the key characteristics of a focus group note taker. Now it’s time to narrow our focus slightly and take a closer look at the practices and techniques that every effective focus group note taker should know.
While they may not have as an important a role as the moderator, note takers play a key role in the success of your focus group sessions. By recording detailed documentation of focus group data, they provide a guide for marketing researchers to understand the overall context, environment, feeling and atmosphere of every focus group session.
There are 6 principle types of information that the focus group note taker is responsible for documenting:
- Quotes -- Quotations capture the spirit of each speaker’s statement, illustrating an important point of view and providing insightful or qualitative data relevant to the area of study and client requirements.
- Non-Verbal Cues -- Head nodding, laughter, discomfort, pauses…every human gesture carries meanings that vary between cultures. In order to provide analysts with the most valuable data possible, note takers should make note of these movements without drawing conclusions.
- Wording and Timing -- Establishing context is an essential element of the focus group note taker’s job. Therefore, it’s important to note the language that the moderator uses as well. For instance: by marking the moments where a probing question was asked, analysts are better able to determine the nuances of its response.
- Key Points and Themes -- With every focus group, a series of repetitive issues, conclusions or closely related responses usually emerges. It is critical that these discussion threads or themes are recorded by the focus group note taker. Of course, in some instances, a key point might only be mentioned once but conveyed in such a manner that it deserves close attention. In either case, it is the note taker’s responsibility to record these important qualitative data points.
- Follow-Up Questions -- Since the focus group moderator’s attention is usually taken up with directing the discussion, he or she may miss vital opportunities for follow-up. After establishing a non-disruptive method of communication beforehand, the note taker should bring these opportunities to the attention of the moderator.
- Big Ideas -- Occasionally the note taker comes across a new concept that proves helpful in later analysis. While maintaining a level of objective observation is essential for the focus group note taker, these hunches or thoughts should not be dismissed. Instead, recording them increases the likelihood they will be remembered during the analysis phase.
To learn more about focus group note taker best practices, click on the button below and schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
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