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Fieldwork's Two-Sided Approach for Successful Virtual Focus Groups

By Fieldwork on June 30, 2020

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin

You wouldn’t set out on a journey without getting ready and neither do we. Preparation is engrained into our ethos and manifests itself in our services and work ethic. At our core, we are a people company – and that’s more than just being in the focus group facility business or in the market research industry. We bring the right people to the right place so they can be asked the right questions at the right time. Preparation is a huge contributor to our success and the success of our clients.

Walking into our facilities, it’s something our clients and respondents have come to expect. But what happens when that qualitative research is taken online? We designed our online qualitative experience to ensure your market research studies are safe, secure and accurate so the quality of your research is at its best.

While we have the latest technology and easy-to-use tools, it’s the support you get from our online team that makes us unique. Each of our virtual research team members are not only tech experts, but also specialize in hosting and customer service. They know research and they know moderators. They understand the full focus group experience and they know the Fieldwork ethos and culture. If an issue arises, Fieldworkers are trained and prepared to jump in quickly and quietly to get everything back on track.  The team consists of tutors in the online process, not lecturers. We custom-tailor each experience rather than rely on the one-size-fits-all approach of our competition.

Our preparation begins long before your online session. Our dual-track platform training conducts individual sessions with moderators and with respondents, too. You could think of it as two sides of a coin. Both are equally important and equally represented.

HeadsHEADS: How We Train Moderators to Use Our Tools

Our pre-work includes a full walk-through of each session including training with stimuli. This could include videos, ad concept visuals, discussion guides and the like. Mock sessions include the moderator to ensure they are comfortable with all the platform’s features- like how to share the stimuli throughout the live session. Chat features can control what is shown to the whole group, just the moderator or a combination during the session.

 

TailsTAILS: How We Prepare Respondents for Their Virtual Interview Experience

Before the study, our hands-on experts work one-on-one with your participants to determine their readiness to take part. Some of the things we double-check are:

 

  • Do your participants have a quiet, distraction-free place so as not to be disturbed during the session?
  • Is their personal technology up to the task?
  • How well does their internet connection work?
  • Are their audio and video outputs working well?
  • Are participants lit from in front and not from behind, so we can see them clearly?
  • If they are testing a device, is it at hand, is it charged and working properly, and are the notifications and ringers turned off?

If a respondent does not satisfactorily complete the training, we immediately notify the client and suggest replacement options. And just like with an in-person study, we provide directions to the online destination and confirm (and re-confirm) attendance right up to the scheduled sessions. A bonus outcome of all this effort is very high participation levels.

Once we have established that your participants have met our standards, we teach them how to use our equipment, tools and controls. We additionally show them how to use the tools specific to their planned session. If they will be sharing their screen with the moderator, we walk them through the process until we are sure they are comfortable. If they will be watching a video, we play an example video to show them how to navigate their controls.

A Word On Privacy and Security

At all times, our team adheres to every requirement for safe handling of personally identifiable information, as well as being fully-trained in GDPR and HIPAA regulations and guidelines. We use only the most secure confidentiality protocols and we monitor and uphold privacy standards at the highest levels of safety, security and integrity. Our virtual rooms go beyond the industry practice of making them password-protected; ours require human permission and are actively monitored at all times.


Everyone enjoys the experience more when they are prepared. You have your own dashboard and our full-time support – helping to protect your study against inconveniences.

In a world where technology seems commonplace, some of our preparation might seem redundant. But, reality has shown us that it is nearly impossible to know which respondents will need the most help. The important part is to ensure any challenges present themselves during our preparation and not during your study.

Even those with practical knowledge of computers and devices may not be comfortable with every technological tool. Regardless of their level of experience, we make sure everyone involved in your project is knowledgeable and well informed on our system. Whether your participants’ tech skills are basic, intermediate, advanced or proficient, we tailor our training to meet their needs and abilities.

We want moderators to focus on managing the interview and respondents to focus on engaging with the moderator and the experience. No matter what your study, the Fieldwork team applies our experience and signature attention to detail to deliver online focus group best practices and beyond. Focus on the research. We’ll do the rest.

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Topics: Market Research Services Research Facilities

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