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Bulletin Board Focus Group
Online format utilized to engage people in in-depth discussions over an extended timeframe. Typically involves 10-20 individuals who may not be able to participate in a real-time focus group due to time constraints. Groups can literally be configured to include anyone in the world and typically last about three to five days allowing respondents to reflect and respond at their own pace.

Client observation/viewing room
The room from which client personnel observe and listen to focus group proceedings through a one-way mirror. Also called the back room or viewing room.

A qualitative research methodology in which a moderator works with 2-3 respondents. Some researchers maintain that the limited number of participants in a triad permits the moderator to get more information from them than is possible in a mini-group or full group.



Methodology that involves the study of a small group of subjects in their own environment. Ethnography can involve both descriptive and interpretive elements of an observational nature and enables deeper investigation of subjects over a longer period of time.

Executive interview
The business equivalent of a one-on-one interview typically conducted on-site at the respondent‚s office, place of business or by telephone.

Final report
The document that the researcher develops at the conclusion of the research project. Its length varies, but a typical final report includes several sections: a summary of the methodology used, a review of the key findings, and the conclusions or interpretations of what the findings mean in light of the research objectives. Some final reports also contain a recommendations section containing suggestions for the client's next steps based on the conclusions of the research.

Focus Group
A qualitative research technique utilized to learn about consumer attitudes and preferences for specific concepts, products and services. Focus groups discussions are led by a trained research moderator and typically last from 1-2 hours in duration. Clients are able to observe the interaction and discussion first-hand from behind a one-way mirror in an observation room if desired. Most focus groups consist of 8-12 respondents who usually share common characteristics such as demographics, purchase patterns, work experience or household composition/income, etc.

Focus Group Discussion Guide

A formal, written outline of topics to cover during a focus group discussion. Key discussion points are reviewed and agreed upon in advance to ensure specific content areas and research objectives are covered in the discourse.

Focus Group Screener

A designed set of questions, guidelines, requirements and quotas utilized by recruiters to screens and qualify prospective respondents.

Monetary compensation paid to respondents in appreciation and consideration for their time for participating in a research study. The amount of the honorarium can vary widely depending on time involved, research topic, location and target audience.

In-depth interview (IDI)

In-depth interviews are typically used to obtain information that may be difficult to capture in a focus group due to its sensitive or personal/behavioral nature. As opposed to the interactive exchange of ideas and cross-fertilization format of focus groups, IDI‚s are used to probe deeper into personal attitudes and beliefs. They are conducted on an individual basis and typically last between 30-60 minutes.

Intercept/Exit interview
A technique utilized to capture individual respondent data on-premise; typically (and literally) as a consumer exits an establishment such as a restaurant, retail store or other types of businesses where a visit or transaction has just occurred. The interview is usually quite brief (1-3 minutes) as it is difficult to engage and hold time-constrained consumers during their busy routines.

A focus group that contains between four to six participants. More than six is normally considered a full group, and fewer than four is a triad or a dyad.


The professional market researcher hired by the client to lead the focus group discussion.

Moderator guide
The outline that the moderator uses to lead the discussion in the focus group session. It is developed by the moderator on the basis of the briefings and identifies the topics that will be covered in a focus group session, and the approximate emphasis that will be given to each.

Multi-select questions

Study design that allows respondents to offer a number of possible responses to an individual question.

Online Real-time Focus Groups
Live, online format bringing together respondents, clients and moderator from different locations. Typical focus group format/protocol is followed without the expense of travel costs.

Open-ended data
Study design that allows data collection from respondents whose answer to an unstructured question has been written-in or offered without condition. A question that has no prelisted answers which requires the respondent to answer is his or her own words. Also known as a subjective question.

The extra people who are recruited for a focus group to compensate for the inevitable no-shows.

A person included in a focus group, survey or study. Also called respondent, unit, subject, experimental unit or unit of analysis.

Qualitative Research
Research data not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis; characterized by the absence of empirical measurements and an interest in subjective evaluation. Qualitative methodologies include such techniques as focus groups, mini-groups, one on-ones and open ended-questions.

A set of questions designed to generate data necessary for accomplishing the objectives of the research project.

Identify the number and type of respondents who fall into specific, desired categories (age, race, income, occupation, etc.). When recruiting participants, interviewers ensure quotas are met and the set of respondents is balanced per the research study goals/design. A sample quota profile (typically a spreadsheet) is produced to recap of information for all of the individuals to be interviewed.

The section of the final report that suggests the next action steps a client could take, based on the conclusions of the research.

The process of securing participants for focus groups.

A brief interview conducted with potential participants when they arrive at a facility to ensure that they really qualify for the session. Re-screening normally uses some of the questions that were originally asked when the participants were originally recruited.

The individual from which data are collected. Also called participant, unit, unit of analysis, subject or experimental unit.

The method of selecting a specified portion, called a sample, from a population, from which information concerning the whole can be inferred.

SAQ (self-administered questionnaire)

A questionnaire completed with no interviewer involvement.

A closed-ended question for measuring attitudes. A set of symbols or numbers so constructed that the symbols or numbers can be assigned by a rule to the individual (or their behavior or attitudes) to whom the scale is applied.

Single-select questions
Study design where respondents are allowed only a single response to a posed question.

Telephone focus groups
A qualitative research methodology in which seven to 10 people are connected in a telephone conference call and a trained moderator leads them through a discussion about a particular topic. A focus group that is conducted via conference calling.

Preliminary results from a project, usually showing responses of the total sample to a few key questions.


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