ONLINE SURVEYS AND FOCUS GROUPS
The Internet opens
up a new world of research possibilities. Participants from around
the country or even the world can join together to share their ideas
about your company's products and services. Research costs can be
reduced and the information may be available more quickly.
Despite all the exciting
possibilities, online research does not replace traditional methods.
Each have their unique strengths and weaknesses.
Some Online Research Advantages
Often lower cost than conventional research methods.
results are available more quickly than conventional research
Can conduct focus groups with qualified participants from any
Great for evaluating Web sites and other online material.
be used to obtain greater detail from selected survey participants.
For example, some of a company's best customers as indicated
in a survey can be quickly assembled in an online focus group
to gather additional information, discuss new ideas, and brainstorm.
topics, which might cause inhibition in person, can be more
easily discussed online where participants never actually meet
research will not normally be impacted by bad weather, missed
airline connections, etc.
can "observe" the focus groups from any location that has a
computer and online connection.
be easier to access busy professionals (doctors, lawyers, senior
business executives) online than requiring them to travel to
a central location for a focus group.
Some Online Research Disadvantages
- Finding the right
respondents for a survey or focus group can be difficult, as e-mail
lists have yet to catch up to the specificity of mailing or calling
- Discussion of visual
items, such as print ads, TV commercials, promotional pieces,
or photographs is limited.
- The advantages
of group dynamics and personal interaction of in-person groups
- The non-verbal
cues apparent during a focus group cannot be perceived online.
- Security concerns;
some companies are concerned that the person participating in
their survey or focus group may be acting under an assumed identity.
- Randomness; because
far fewer individuals have an e-mail address than a telephone
number or home address, random samples may be difficult to obtain.
- Attention to the
topic: online participants may be distracted by other activities
during the survey or focus group process. This is less likely
to occur during in-person focus groups.
- Slow modem connections
or outdated computer equipment can be an impediment in participation
for some respondents.
Do these drawbacks mean
that online research should never be attempted? Not at all. It is
important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each approach.
Market Trends Research will evaluate your company's research objectives,
explain the online and offline research options in greater detail,
and suggest the best methods for conducting your research project.
here to contact Market Trends Research about online or offline research,
or call us at 303-823-5811 or 727-421-6214.
Trends Research Incorporated
303-823-5811 / 727-421-6214
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