In this assignment, you will complete a second piece of qualitative research, a focus group, following the steps discussed in Topic 5. Again, the objective of your research is to refine your marketing research problem and research design and to collect information to address the marketing research problem.
Refer to the six steps in the procedure for conducting a focus group presented in Figure 6.5 on page 152 of your textbook and the discussed details in Topic 5. This is the process that you will use to prepare, conduct, and report on your focus group. The text materials and the activities in this module are excellent preparation for this activity.
In a report of approximately 1,500 words, describe the results of your focus group research and its implications for your marketing problem definition and your research design. As a guideline, use the structure of the Research in Action topline report on pages 156 and 157 of your textbook.
Your report must include the following sections:
- Introduction and objectives: Briefly discuss both the context of the study and how the secondary research has contributed to the current step of the research. Clearly state the current marketing research problem and the goals of this study.
- Method and procedures: Briefly discuss the environment that you chose or created for your focus group, including the equipment that you planned to capture the feedback. You should have participants’ informed consent prior to the interview. You must attach a sample in the appendix. If you are unsure about what is an informed consent form is, do a quick search on the Internet and TRU research ethics webpage (http://www.tru.ca/research/research-ethics.html). Briefly discuss your method for recruiting and selecting participants, including your screening method, sample criteria, and any incentives that you provided. Your focus group should include at least six participants. You should schedule more participants to accommodate possible no-shows; you are responsible for assembling a group that is large enough. You should include the date, the duration, and other details of conducting the focus group.
- Discussion guide: You are required to use a discussion guide. An example is on pages 154 and 155 of your textbook. You need to tell the reader where to locate your discussion guide (i.e., in an appendix), and refer to it, as required, in the summary of findings. Your discussion guide should cover at least three major themes (or research components), with several questions prepared for each. Focus on the most important issues and on those that you want to learn more about before you invest your time in survey research. Your focus group should last roughly forty-five minutes to an hour. In addition, you should include a summary of participants (including their pseudonym (if you have promised them confidentiality), and demographics data) in an appendix. Use a table to list them one by one. This will provide a profile of who is involved. Summary of findings: This will be the bulk of your report. It is an excellent idea to include subheadings that cover the major topics or issues. Be clear about how common themes emerge. You should probe beneath the surface answers, but dig deeper into why certain things are meaningful to the participation. Pay attention to the emotional and non-verbal clues people send when expressing their opinions. Do not take sides or act like an expert. This could hinder the participants’ responses (e.g., giving a socially desirable answer). Use participants’ quotes (as citations) to relate specific reactions and support your claim. Do not use quantitative terms, such as percentage, in analyzing your data. This is a qualitative research. Insights and new terms/variables are more important and helpful than numeric data. When quoting the participants own words, use proper APA style (see http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/interview/ for details and examples). Remember in your last assignment (secondary research), you use publicly available publication to support you claim. In this paper (focus group study), you use the participants’ own voice for the same purpose (support your claims).
- Implications and conclusion: Once again, your report must go beyond simple descriptions of the data. You must demonstrate insights, your critical thinking, and logical rationale of arguments. Have you delivered what you set out to do in the objective paragraph(s)? As this is an interim paper of the entire study, you perhaps should highlight how this step can shed light to your next step (survey research). What are the implications for the marketing research problem, and the research design (sampling, scaling, variables, questions wording, etc.).
You do not need to include the signed informed consent forms, nor a transcript/ recording of your focus group. You may want to record the session (with the permission of the participants), but make it clear that this is for a school project. Invest your time in carefully considering what is meant, rather than what is said.
Also, be mindful that focus groups are used to present qualitative, not quantitative data. It is not very meaningful to say that “forty per cent of participants believed …” when you only have six participants in the room. Keep your observations focused on insights and general comments, not numbers.
Presentation Standards: Guidelines for Writing
- Paragraphs are unified, developed, and coherent, with transitions between ideas.
- Sentences are grammatically correct; words are chosen for accuracy and impact.
- Writing follows the conventions of spelling and mechanics (punctuation, etc.).
- Documentation follows APA style accurately and consistently.
- Assignment is submitted in double-line spacing and uses 12-point Times New Roman font.
- Templates provided by MS Word are not used.