Study: Participants prefer focus groups

ESOMAR Online Conference

Earlier this month in Chicago, I had the opportunity to hear Ray Poynter present his paper “It Works for Us, But Does it Work for Them?”  This was a study of 1085 research participants.  The bottom line was that focus groups remain the #1 most enjoyable form of research for participants.  Here are the percent of participants of each method who say they “always” enjoy participating.
  • Focus Groups 51%
  • Online Research Community 39%
  • Online Survey 37%
  • IDIs 33%
  • Telephone Survey 12%
Findings show that people enjoy focus groups because of the high involvement, face-to-face interaction that allows them to share their opinions and bounce ideas off of each other.  They also like the format where people are listening yet there is a specific and limited time commitment.  Participants enjoy the opportunity to “get the inside scoop” on new products or ideas.  Of course, they also appreciate the generous incentives andfree food and drink.
Interesting, there are some significant fears as well.  Some fear judgement by other participants or having to disagree openly with someone else.  Others fear of public speaking and knowing that every word and action is being watched and recorded.  Interestingly, participants expressed frustration over the limited timeframe.  They don’t always get to voice their complete opinion and one person might dominate the discussion and use up “their” time.   
I’ll report more on this paper in another post.  If you would like the whole paper, you can get it for EUR 15.00 at
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