Focus Group Moderator

  1. Focus Group Moderator General Discussion

Instructions

Comment on two positive things moderators should try to do and on two negatives moderators should avoid doing. Briefly indicate why these were positives and negatives. These should be brief reflections, so:

 1. 1-2 sentences about each positive thing.

2. 1-2 sentences about why it was positive.

3. 1-2 sentences about each negative thing.

4. 1-2 sentences about why it was negative.

2. Online Focus Group Discussion Background

In today’s society more and more things take place or are at least available online. As technology improves the quality and quantity of things online also typically improves. Traditionally, all FGs took place with participants all in a single physical location. As technology progressed phone FGs occurred, followed by asynchronous FGs on online message boards, to where we are today with online FGs utilizing videoconferencing, e.g. Skype.

In most cases, although this is a subjective opinion some disagree with, it is better to run a FG with all participants and the moderator in the same physical location. If everyone is in the same physical location it typically enables much more effective dynamics within the FG such as easier to read non-verbal cues. However, there are times when FGs due to logistical reasons take place online. A concrete example is if you want participants from diverse geographic locations to take part. For example, suppose in your FG you want two participants from each of the five largest cities within the USA. In this scenario it is difficult and expensive to get the participants all in the same physical location and so you would likely conduct the FG online.

Online FGs are without a doubt a valuable tool for researchers. However, there are a number of limitations to online FGs. For example, in an online FG, it is difficult to know if the participant is multi-tasking (e.g. on Facebook or watching TV) when you want 100% of their attention on the FG. In a real world setting of the traditional FG it is much easier to ensure participants pay attention.

Instructions

Compare and contrast four advantages or disadvantages of an online FG vs. a traditional FG.

You may use a variety of skills/tools to complete this task, such as your experience of FGs, common sense, or internet search tools. Prepare your four points in the format below.

Two examples are below:

1. Online FGs allow participants from diverse geographic locations to participate, which is hard to achieve with a traditional FG.

2. In an online FG it is difficult to know if you have participants’ complete attention. In a traditional FG it is easier to control and remove distracters.

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