Combining face-to-face and online focus groups can bring benefits | News

UK – Combining face-to-face and online focus groups within a single project can open up limitless possibilities, says a leading market research manager.

Pierre Totman, (illustrated) head of quality at Jigsaw Research, gave a presentation titled The Zoom Group Fantasy at the MRS Impact 2022 conference, asking tough questions about online qualitative research.

The session was based on feedback from researchers, clients and participants and compared the advantages and disadvantages of online and in-person interview groups.

Comparing the benefits of the two methodologies, Totman said research showed participants in online groups found “there is more time online to collect your thoughts and structure them” while another said ” you can actually get a word out” face-to-face, it’s the “mouth types” that tend to dominate.

The results also showed face-to-face groups were “much more of an event” but online “seems to open up the world of qualifying for introverts” who feel like they have a say.

Comparing methodologies from a researcher’s perspective, Totman said researchers felt online groups were “less spontaneous” and there was a “risk of another Zoom meeting” for those leading. and participate in the group.

“There’s a challenge online to have a sense of presence, to make people feel in the moment,” Totman said.

Totman noted that in the post-pandemic world, there may be “an opportunity for us to create a qualitative industry that is better in many ways.” He said it was a “balancing act”, but that combining the virtues of online, like being more inclusive, and face-to-face, like fostering creative development, could draw benefits. benefits.

“We can start using these methodologies in the same project to achieve different goals – there are a hundred possibilities here. We may want to get a representative view of the whole population by making sure everyone has a voice by hosting online sessions to get started. But then we might want a more creative approach and to build the brand we have a second step which is face to face.

Moreover, by combining the two, researchers and participants could also have a more balanced life, he added. “If we have these two different methodologies and they both have a separate role, then we can use both at different times. We will have a better balance in life, if not a completely balanced life.

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