Join Cheryl Ladd for an in-depth discussion in this video Selecting the right methodology, part of Marketing Foundations: Qualitative Research.
- [Instructor] Focus Groups vs. Individual Depth Interviews. This is a topic of much debate among researchers. So, let's explore some of the points to consider when selecting the methodology for a project. First, what are Focus Groups and Individual Depth Interviews? Focus Groups involve a group of people who are brought together to share their perceptions and opinions about the topic at hand. They generally consist of six to 10 people, but variations include mini-groups of four to six, Triad's with three and Dyad's with two.
The primary benefit is the dynamic interaction among the group members, which can spark ideas and result in rich discussion. Individual Depth Interviews, otherwise known as IDI's, are one-on-one discussions between a moderator and a respondent. The primary benefit is the depth of the conversation, and ability to really understand an individual's thoughts and motivations, how they do something, or how they make decisions. Whether to use groups or IDI's should primarily be driven by project objectives.
While there are no hard and fast rules, you might consider the following examples: When the interaction among participants would be beneficial, consider Focus Groups. For example, when doing Exploratory Research, idea generation, or message testing. If you need in-depth information on a complex topic, and it's important to understand each individual's situation, perspective, and/or decision making, this would be a good opportunity for individual interviews. For example, if you're trying to understand how physicians make decisions, or doing prototype testing.
IDI's are also appropriate for situations where the topic is highly sensitive, or there are concerns about confidentiality. For example, if you're discussing recruiting practices with HR executives who won't want to share confidential information in a group of their competitors. Consider Telephone Depth Interview's, if there are geographic constraints. For example, if you're interviewing CEO's of Fortune 50 companies, there are a small number of them, and they're all over the country. Logistically, it would make sense to interview them on the phone.
If you wanna understand how one person's opinion influences another in a natural pair, consider Dyad's. Natural pairs might be spouses, a parent and child, or a patient and a caregiver. For example, if your objective is to learn how people make decisions on retirement planning, you might wanna do Dyad's with couples to understand how they work together to make these decisions. So, let's consider your client, Kettle Brew Coffee. Kettle Brew wants to understand the overall home brewed coffee experience, the emotional and functional drivers of purchase, and the perceptions of their brand.
This is Exploratory Research, and the interaction and dialogue among participants may generate some nuances that wouldn't come out in a one-on-one. Therefore, you might suggest Focus Groups for this project. When considering which methodology to use, in many cases, it's not a matter of one being right, and the other being wrong, but that one might be good, and the other might be better. If you consider each of these factors, you should be able to successfully align the research approach with the research objectives.
- What is qualitative research?
- The benefits of qualitative research
- Identifying your objectives and methodology
- Creating screeners and discussion guides
- Defining the timeline and logistics
- Writing a report
- Asking questions
- Moderating a group