You have chosen the cities where you, your clients, and your colleagues will travel for focus groups. Now, you must contact the facilities in these cities and provide them study specifications for recruitment purposes. What you may not realize is that this is a major turning point of the study. To say recruitment can make or break a study is an obvious understatement.
At Accelerant Research, we have some of the most highly skilled recruiters in our business. When we handle your recruit, participants show up and are vocal. These two factors, as well as the following are key to successful qualitative studies:
We invite you to request a cost estimate from us as a first step. If we are granted the opportunity to work with you, we are confident that the quality of service you receive will be a marked improvement.
Good luck and safe travels!
I Got Your Typing Tool Right Here… A Cautionary Tale About Segmentation Algorithms and Qualitative Research
It should be stated right off the bat that the team at Accelerant Research has enormous appreciation for quantitative segmentation research. We LOVE conducting these sophisticated quantitative research studies for our full-service clients which result in elegant, highly targetable, easily digestible segments of the target customer population. Large-scale segmentation studies have a long shelf life, internally, and provide a ton of strategic value to organizations. However, in our role as white-glove qualitative research recruiters we’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the insights industry when it comes to blindly relying on segmentation algorithms to identify segment members for participating in focus groups or other qualitative research studies.
For those with less experience in such research studies, a segmentation algorithm is a shortened, summary version of the larger-scale segmentation results, which can be inserted into future screening questionnaires to identify customer segmentations among the survey population. The segmentation algorithm is a fantastic, on-the-fly means to identify segment members, which can be used in a plug-and-play fashion for future quantitative surveys. However, using these algorithms for qualitative research is not so simple.
Often, we are handed a segmentation typing tool to use during our recruiting process in order to identify members of a given segment, but if we rely solely on this quantitative type of assessment, clients are often disappointed when individual recruits don’t behave in their interview as a member of their segment is expected to behave. Segmentation output is very elegant and strategically impactful, but the individual data points that comprise your segments are messy. The final segmentation analysis is based on hundreds or even thousands of cases, which is what makes them so powerful. However, when you deconstruct the segmentation and go back to look at individual survey participants, the results are far less clear – sometimes a small shift in a survey response (e.g., selecting 6 instead of 8 on a 10-point survey scale) can jettison a research participant from one segment to another. When recruiting participants for qualitative research, we’re right back to that messy, individual-level assessment of participants’ “fit” with a given segment. As such, relying strictly on a segmentation algorithm or typing tool to definitively define these segment members for qualitative research can be a recipe for disaster.
If we’re not careful, this can lead to an awkward disconnect in the backroom of a focus group facility, where participants are correctly segmented based on the algorithm, but in their interview, they say and do things that make them sound like they should be members of a different segment.
What can be a simple and highly effective tool in bringing your segments to life is sharing the segment profiles with your qualitative recruiters, in addition to the typing tool algorithm. What these profiles do is allow us to focus on recruiting participants that behave like the segment should, rather than blindly recruiting into a segment without the benefit of such context. When we use the segmentation algorithm as a starting point of identifying segment membership, and the segment profile information for refinement, we create a powerful one-two punch that ensures research participants who sit down for qualitative interviews are exactly the right audience. This type of recruiting rigor requires partnership between Accelerant’s recruiting team and the client to make sure these details are communicated properly, but when that partnership is in place, it makes for a fantastic client experience at the end of the day.
The consultative partnership described above is just one example of Accelerant’s approach to service that we take on each qualitative recruiting project (i.e., we sweat the details). We invite you to request a cost estimate from us as a first step and experience the difference that we provide for yourself. Simply give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (email@example.com).
Imagine you are designing a study for a client who wants to have “readable” base sizes of certain key demographic groups represented in a survey, e.g., race and ethnicity. So, in order to accommodate, you set up the sample configuration such that Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians each have a base size of 100 completes, such that your total sample size is n=400.
So far, so good. But then, your client wants you to test the significance of differences of each group against the total sample. Well, everything would be okay if each of these groups were equal in size in the population. Of course, they are not, so that means you can’t simply roll up the 400 respondents into one group and make straightforward comparisons to the separate groups. To solve for this issue, you decide to weight the data using population proportions of each group according to the latest census data available.
In essence, weighting data is like pulling taffy. For some groups, you only need to pull the taffy a little bit because their proportion in the sample is close to the population. In other groups, you will need to stretch the taffy more as they may be under-represented in the sample, relative to the population.
However, all kinds of trouble can occur at this stage of your otherwise well-designed study. You can apply weights to a data set that range way too large and way too small. You can apply the weight by assigning a proportion of one of the subgroups incorrectly. And you can apply the weight correctly and forget to read your crosstabs that show “Weighted Data.” When using weights, be warned that trouble is lurking around the corner if you are not careful and check your work before publishing the results to your client.
To begin, examine each individual weight being applied to each respondent’s data. If the weight being applied is greater than 2.0, you may be trying to pull that taffy too far, and it may snap. If the weight is close to 0.0, you are essentially eliminating that respondent’s data since anything multiplied by zero is zero. If you can stay within the range of 0.5 and 1.5, you are in good shape, and the taffy will be just right.
Whomever is handling your data processing, whether it is some crack technician that’s been running Quantum to produce crosstabs for years and years, or whether you are doing it yourself, double check your work. Believe us, these errors are made because they can be easily overlooked.
The worst error to make is by posting unweighted data to your report. Again, easy to do, but extremely costly to overcome. Your client will be hard pressed to process your invoice, and will probably never call you again for another study in the future. Check and double check your work. Better yet, have someone else check your work as most researchers I know can tell a story about having looked at something for so long, can not see errors they’ve made that are right under their nose.
Weighting data is surely the Achilles’ heel of market research. So, when you find yourself in a study in which applying weights is necessary, please be careful, stretch first, and don’t pull a muscle.
Among the unique amenities that set us apart from other facilities in Charlotte and the Southeast, and the rest are:
o Integrated 'Apple TV'
o Multi-Channel Receiver for presenting Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS, CD stimulus materials
o In-room Integrated HDMI/VGA ports for easy plugin to moderator’s laptop
o High Performance Microphone for pristine audio quality
o HD Wide Angle, digital video camera
o Recording studio quality soundproofing
o High-Speed Wired and Wireless Internet
o Internet speed: 15mbps down and 2mbps up
o Wireless setup: 15mbps down and 2mbps up
o Wireless network, supports up to 300mbps
CLICK HERE FOR A FEW PICTURES OF THEFACILITY
For more information about our facility or to book your next in-person project, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 704.206.8500.