When it comes time to test a product, idea, or concept, companies will often hire a market research firm to conduct a qualitative market research study. Qualitative studies are effective in helping companies better understand what motivates consumers and how they might be affected by affinity groups.
There are a number of qualitative methodologies that researchers can use, but focus groups and in-depth interviews remain popular options. With proper training a moderator can tease out the “how” and “why” behind decision-making processes. As with any qualitative study, recruiting qualified participants based on demographic or psychographic criteria is always important!
If the budget allows, researchers may include both focus groups and in-depth interviews in the study. There are many similarities in what you can accomplish with focus groups and in-depth interviews, but there are differences. Let’s take a look at how the two qualitative methodologies differ.
Before a focus group convenes, the first step is recruiting the right people to participate. We can’t emphasize enough how important this step is for successful study outcomes! Recruit the wrong people and you’ll waste a lot of time and money. Because recruiting is so integral to successful study outcomes, many researchers partner with nationwide recruiting agencies to help with this task.
More is not better when it comes to populating a focus group. An ideal number is between 6-10 participants. Participants have less time to talk in focus groups, but a well-trained moderator can ensure that each participant is given opportunities to engage.
Focus groups are good formats for seeing how participants respond to group dynamics and what forces may influence their thinking.
Focus groups are great for:
- Better understanding of real-world responses
- Observing commonalities and differences of opinions
- Product testing
- Affinity groups
When a subject or topic requires deeper insight, in-depth interviews are the better choice. Interviewers can give their undivided attention to an In-depth interview, and subject matters can be explored in more detail.
In-depth interviews are often used for any sensitive topic being discussed, such as a healthcare or medical study.
Another reason researchers may opt for in-depth interviews is the convenience to participants. It is much easier to schedule a one-on-one interview rather than trying to bring multiple people to a focus group facility.
Regardless of which qualitative methodology the researcher chooses, you’ll get a lot of helpful and useful information!