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Online Focus Groups

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Online Focus Groups

Online focus groups are, in essence, groups of respondents (usually 8 - 10) who are encouraged to discuss and debate a specific topic via the internet.

While traditional focus group studies still have their place in the world of qualitative research for certain projects, many can be moved online with researched benefiting from the convenience, time and cost savings, as well as being useful for respondents who are geographically disparate.

Online focus groups can be divided into two main types, the more common chat based focus groups and the new webcam and audio based focus groups. The suitability of each type is dependent on the participants’ internet connection and whether they have access to a webcam and set of suitable earphones.

Webcam Interviewing: Real-time platforms where the moderator and participants gather online to have discussions and review stimuli while seeing and hearing each other. Everyone gatherers at the same time, sessions often last between 1.5 and 2 hours and researchers can see and hear what participants are saying.

Chat based focus group: These platforms offer a good choice when simplicity and immediacy are high priorities. Technical requirements are relatively simple. Total time required from participants is often 60 to 90 minutes or less. Analysis can be a speedy process if the primary goal is to understand top-of-mind responses.

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