Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Bulletin Board Focus Groups
What is a bulletin board focus group?
Bulletin board focus groups are another means of gathering qualitative marketing information. Instead of taking place at a focus group facility, over the phone in a conference call, or in an online chat room, the discussion takes place at a Web site. The "conversation" is a series of postings from the moderator and participants. The moderator posts questions and issues. Respondents post replies to the moderator and to each other.
How are respondents recruited?
Participants are typically recruited over the phone to personalize the invitation to participate and secure higher cooperation rates. Reminder notices are sent by email and phone.
Where is the site located?
Web sites for focus groups conducted by QualCore.com are set up on QualCore.com's server.
Is the site secure?
Yes. The site is password protected. Only those with a valid password can gain access to the site. Projects that consist of multiple discussion groups take place at different sites, each with its own unique password.
Can clients observe the discussion?
Yes. Clients use the same password as respondents to gain access to the site. Clients can observe as often as they wish.
How do respondents (clients) navigate to the site?
Once recruitment is complete, the URL (address) of the site will be communicated to the respondents and observers. On the appointed date, participants can access the site through the World Wide Web. Before being allowed into the site, the participant will need to enter the correct password.
What will participants "see" at the site?
After gaining entry, a list of postings (messages from the moderator and participants) will appear. They will appear in chronological order, with the most recent postings appearing at the top. The postings list is much like a list of email messages (title, author, date and time stamp). By clicking on a posting, a participant can read the full text of the message. The reader can respond to a posting or read another posting. Responses to postings are listed in chronological order immediately beneath the posting responded to. Thus, as the "discussion" ensues, the postings list becomes a very organized library of all exchanges.
How long does a bulletin board focus group last?
There is flexibility here. In fact, a panel can be set up to allow a discussion to carry on indefinitely. However, to meet most clients' needs and keep participant attrition to a minimum, we recommend limiting each session ideally to one week and at the most to two weeks.
Do respondents have to show up at a particular time?
No. One of the appealing features of this methodology is that respondents provide their input when it is most convenient to them. Morning, afternoon, evening, or late night. At home or at the office. Wherever they have access to the Internet. We only request that they "check in" to the site on a regular basis (typically once daily).
How are incentives handled?
Incentive checks are mailed to the respondent at the conclusion of the discussion. It is made clear during recruitment that incentives are paid only to those who fully participate.
Of the Internet-based qualitative research options, what are the advantages of a Web site focus group versus a chat room focus group?
Unlike chat rooms, Web site discussions can accommodate participants from any Internet service provider. Web site discussions promote longer, more thought out responses.
Not to be reprinted without permission. © QualCore.com Inc. 1998
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