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RESEARCH REPORTS
EFFICIENCY THROUGH TELEPHONE FOCUS GROUPS
Qualitative research is often exasperating when trying to bring respondents together for face-to-face focus group discussions, especially when the respondents are professionals who are hard to reach over a wide geographical area. One alternative may be telephone focus groups.

Doane Marketing Research, Inc. has been successfully conducting telephone focus group discussions for several years to assist their clients in obtaining valuable marketing research information. Telephone focus groups have been very effective in bringing together veterinarians, crop consultants, and large producers and growers throughout the U.S.

This technique allows participants from various regions of the country to be involved in discussions with peers from the comforts of their office or home.

Following are some advantages that telephone focus groups offer:

• Faster scheduling and delivery of qualitative research results

• More information gathered than from traditional face-to-face groups, e.g., no geographic limitation on recruiting

• Lower cost than face-to-face groups

• Convenient for client management to listen to groups from anywhere that they have access to a telephone

• High quality audio recording is provided by the
telephone company

Skeptics of this technique point to the inability to see body language and nonverbal cues and the ability of the moderator to direct discussions. It appears that telephone groups offset this inability since the participants are more at ease and open. Moderators simply call on participants by name or if the moderator opens the response to anyone, then participants are asked to identify themselves before responding to a question. In addition, when properly moderated, participants respond to comments made by others in the group.

Participants generally are willing to participate if the subject matter is interesting to them and they feel they can learn something from their peers. AM


To learn more about Doane’s telephone focus group capabilities, contact Greg Roggenkamp at 314/878-7707, ext. 224, or e-mail groggenkam@doanemr.com


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