How to Engage in a Bulletin Board Focus Group

A bulletin board focus group is a terrific online qualitative research methodology if the  moderator keeps participants engaged; otherwise, it can become a series of open-ended questions. So how does an online moderator turn this methodology from hum-drum to WOW?  3 ways.

  1. Set expectations upfront. During the qualitative recruiting process, be sure that participants understand what you expect. They need to know log-in expectations and participation expectations. Set the rules early and be sure they agree to them.
  2. Create Engaging Discussions. Ideally, the discussion itself is an engaging, high involvement topic for the participants. However, often the moderator must take the lead and model the desired behavior for participants. This is especially important on Day 1.  Create a lot of probes and generate discussion among participants.  An online moderator who works hard on Day 1 will reap the benefits throughout the project.
  3. Proper Incentives. The incentive should be relative to participant expectations. Doctors expect more than consumers. Experienced panelists from the major panel providers generally expect less. Also, be sure participants understand that they receive their incentive after the discussion concludes and only if they fully participate.
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