A pre-formed set of questions that runs over several days or weeks.
A realtime freeform/guided chat room, typically 1 to 2 hours long.
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Avoid Respondent Anxiety
First, be clear when you recruit about what the respondents will be doing. Once they are in the session, incorporate a warm-up activity to introduce and test out the features. The platform is simple to use, but practice puts respondents at ease. VisionsLive has some great ‘How to…’ guides and YouTube videos to help guide researchers on this point.
Keep the Technology Support “Quiet” and Omnipresent
Good planning helps the technology remain as invisible as possible. But be explicit about how participants can request help if they need it. Moderators can access the VisionsLive HelpDesk 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Recruitment for the Environment
When recruiting for an online focus group, you have to consider motivations and ability. Do the people you are recruiting like communicating online? What is their level of technology sophistication and will they have sufficient access to the equipment and connectivity required?
The Right Incentives for the Right Recruits
Incentives help participants stay engaged throughout the online focus group. The incentive could be intangible (e.g. “You are helping the community.”) or tangible (e.g. a popular retail gift card). VisionsLive will help you navigate those decisions and levels.
Manage Expectations for Engagement
Start your sessions by laying out the ground rules. Being explicit about how and how much you expect participants to engage will help avoid culture clashes and confusion. You’ll want to spell out clear expectations of who should talk and when.
Online environments can feel impersonal, so you may want to make particular effort to address participants by name and more actively fill in the gaps in conversation.
Plan your discussion guide around the objectives, but with an eye to what kind of data you want to see as well as how you want to see it. Transcripts, images, and whiteboards are available to download immediately once a session is complete, but each takes its own type of analysis. Plan accordingly and ask a VisionsLive Project Success Team member for their input!
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