Focus groups are key to understanding behaviour by obtaining detailed information on feelings, perceptions, and opinions. Putting together the right focus group can be challenging and requires participants to be screened extensively. Decision Point has a unique process that allows us to recruit the right individuals that provide valuable insights for our clients. Here is a recent success story.
The client a leading national public opinion research firm on behalf of a Canadian University wanted to conduct a focus group discussion with high school students and parents of high school students who were non-rejectors of post-secondary education.
The Challenge & Solution
COVID-19 protocols restricted us from conducting in-person focus groups and we had to hold the discussions online. Participants in 2 out of 4 focus groups had to be residents of rural towns in Northern Alberta, typically a difficult target to reach. The study required students who were non-rejectors of university programs, a niche audience as most of the rural towns are far away from universities that typically have their campuses in large urban centers.
An additional challenge was finding tech-savvy respondents with excellent connectivity in the rural areas of the province. Most of the participants in the Student group were under-18 and required parental consent to participate in market research activities.
For sampling, we used traditional and non-traditional approaches that included engaging existing members in urban cities for referrals of friends and family residing in rural areas, and performing social media outreach on multiple platforms to get to the right target audience. Additional pre-screening measures were performed by our recruiters to ensure that participants were comfortable using technology. With Decision Point Research tech support, participants were requested to conduct test runs to check connectivity and video conferencing platform compatibility.
We also reached out to parents in our database to recommend their children, if they were interested in taking part in the student group. All student leads were screened with their parent’s permission.
Despite the challenges associated with finding the qualified target audience, Decision Point was successful in recruiting for all 4 focus groups (2 student groups and 2 parent groups) as per the specifications and within the deadline. There was 100% attendance in all groups and the client was extremely happy with the show rates. The client added, “Groups went great! We had a full house!”