Have you noticed that the meaning of the term “online focus group” is changing?
When we started doing online qualitative research in 2000, there were two basic types — the bulletin board focus group and the online focus group. At that time, the online focus group was clearly defined as real-time, text-chat focus groups. The definition was clear and unambiguous.
Today, the term is evolving and creating confusion. Though one online moderator might use the term online focus group in the context of a text-chat focus group, another online moderator might use the term to refer to a webcam focus group.
Today, the only consistency in the term “online focus group” is that the speaker is referring to a virtual focus group in real time. So, the next time someone asks you about an online focus group, you might want to ask for a bit more information before moving forward.