What Are Focus Groups & How Do They Work?

Businesses and other organizations use focus groups to research consumer and public opinion concerning a variety of issues. Corporations look to focus groups for general help in selling their products to the world at large instead of any type of direct marketing efforts.

Focus groups are usually conducted by Market Research companies. Market research companies are hired by the big corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. The reason they do this is because the market research companies have the experience and expertise to make sure the focus groups are accurate and unbiased. If the corporations did this themselves they may not get impartial information and could make mistakes costing them millions of dollars (not to mention their jobs!)

So from here on out, when I talk about companies that conduct focus groups, I am referring to market research companies. These will be the companies whom you will contact, register with, and get paid from. This is VERY important for you to remember.

OK, so what kinds of focus groups exist? Well, generally there are two types: Offline and Online.

Offline

These are small, roundtable discussion groups on topics ranging from the latest features on internetworking hardware to new flavors of ice cream. They usually involve about 10 participants plus the group leader or moderator. Each session usually lasts about 2 hours and the discussion is "focused" on a particular topic, about which group members share their opinions. An honorarium of $40-$80 for time and effort is very common. It is not unusual for observers from the client corporation to watch the group in action.

In focus groups, unlike telephone surveys, people can be shown products or ads and can be given an opportunity to express how they feel and what they think in a normal, conversational setting. As a research method, the use of focus groups is less about statistics and numbers and more about qualitative matters such as whether people find an ad humorous, and why they find it humorous, or if people believe a product is appealing and why they think so.

Online

Online focus groups are a cost effective alternative to conventional "face-to-face" focus groups. Online focus groups generally invite 8 to 10 people to join for a specified period of time (90 minutes to two hours) in a specialized chat room. This controlled environment allows participants to view text, graphics, sounds/jingles, video or multimedia for evaluation and testing. It is not uncommon for observers from the client corporation to watch the group in action and send private messages to the co-moderators as the group is progressing.

Copyright © by Ngullen Rivera
info@paying-surveys.com

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Ngullen Rivera publishes the acclaimed Advanced Paid Survey Review & News. A professional newsletter with a refreshing perspective and a strong focus on no-cost Paid Surveys List. http://paying-surveys.com FREE Tips, Tricks, Tools, Resources, eBooks, and More!
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