April 30, 2021

At the height of the pandemic, focus group facilities were primarily silenced, accelerating the shift from in-person to online qualitative studies. For agencies, this shift happened at a critical time for brands as COVID-19 and racial injustice cases spiked. The need to get a pulse on consumer sentiment was palpable as companies found themselves navigating the pandemic while showing solidarity for social justice issues.

While quantitative research has had the advantage of regularly conducting online surveys, qualitative researchers pivoting online had to find the most effective tools to mimic the in-person experience while sourcing respondents, many of whom are unfamiliar with online tools like Zoom. However, online focus groups aren’t a fit for all companies, especially when privacy is a concern.

When companies have research that necessitates an in-person experience, prioritizing safety and setting expectations is essential. Respondents need to understand the safety measures being taken and the expectations for all parties involved.

The residue of 2020 has also prompted additional changes in how focus groups are conducted. Digital check-ins and online recruiting methods are trends that will likely continue post-pandemic. We’ll also see more inclusive language in recruiting screeners and moderators who reflect the respondent pool.

Crystal Martinez, President of Fieldwork Webwork, joins us on The New Mainstream podcast to discuss the state of online focus groups and the trends expected to outlast the pandemic.

 

 

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