Improving on the traditional: Focus Groups

The South African research community has been relying on focus groups for a very long time now but little has been done to improve the way in which they are conducted. Focus groups are great way of gaining qualitative feedback but if they aren't structured correctly the outcome can be less than helpful. There are other various problems with focus groups such as the time it takes to go back through the footage and analyse the results. This usually requires a very experienced analyst especially when it comes to identifying patterns and key insights.
These are just some of the inherent problems with focus groups that researchers face today but if you make use of current technologies you can streamline and enhance the way in which focus groups are conducted. We have recently started using enterprise recording software designed specifically for focus groups and we have been amazed by the results.

It has made the job of our analysts a far simpler one and has reduced the turnaround times dramatically as a large portion of the manual work has been decreased by this software. For example if we are running multiple focus groups our analysts are now able to set up a configuration or structure that will be applied to all of them. This allows our analysts to record each of the focus group sessions and the recordings with the same study configuration can be later searched and graphed together using the software.

Secondly our analysts no longer have to take lengthy hand written notes and then go through the footage to find the correlating clip. This process has now been simplified by analysts being able to create various markers within the footage such as important quotes or key insights and then take their correlating notes electronically. So for example all the key insight markers can be categorised and pulled with their highlighted video clip which allows for easy identification of patterns and insights. This also means that time consuming editing is no longer required.

Easy search functionality also allows for users to create custom searches to look for specific task and markers. The clip organiser and storyboard functionality can then be to used sort clips and graphs and assemble them into a video presentation. All this can then be exported into PowerPoint for the easy creation of a presentation.

Our ability to conduct focus groups and then to analyse and report on the findings has been made a much simpler process and we are now able to deliver a service with added value and within a shorter time frame. At Interact we are firm believers that adopting new technologies to optimise traditional methodologies is essential for maintaining their applicability. Not only this but the value this technology adds to both ourselves and our clients is immense.

13 Apr 2011 12:38

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About the author

Dave Benjamin is CEO of Interact RDT. Click here to email Dave.




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