Are focus groups a thing of the past?  Well, the short answer is no…or at least they shouldn’t be.

Due to budgetary constraints, clients often jump directly to quantitative research to get information as quickly as possible.  However, some of the most effective market research and actionable findings will come from a research process that begins with focus groups before completing quantitative work. You can take what we learn from focus groups – perceptions, ideas, suggestions – and incorporate them into a survey that gives your company statistically reliable data.  Without taking a first step and doing qualitative research, businesses often discover certain less important topics in the survey could have been replaced for more pertinent information. On the flip side, the last thing a client wants is to complete a massive quantitative study and learn that it left something out. Something that would have been unturned through focus group research.

Focus groups at our QualiSight facility in Central NY offer many advantages for our clients. Focus groups are a tried and true way to engage populations to learn in-depth information about opinions, perceptions and experiences. They are a form of qualitative research that embrace group interaction to maximize participant responsiveness and allow for in-depth probing. Typically consisting of 8 to 10 people, a focus group utilizes a moderator to lead and interview participants as a group. The result is a great deal of perceptual information that can be used to validate, uncover or help direct further research.

Here are some key reasons why clients choose to do focus groups at our QualiSight focus group facility, south of Watertown, NY:

  1. A comfort level clients have with focus group research.  It’s the most well-known qualitative methodology for market research and clients are usually familiar and satisfied with the process. Our clients enjoy watching focus groups at QualiSight while they treat themselves to some local cuisine in the Central NY area.
  2. Clients are able to get firsthand experience by watching and listening to consumers. Those in the viewing room see all the facial expressions and reactions at the live focus group at QualiSight, while observing behind a one-way mirror.
  3. Clients have their own focus group behind the focus group. Often clients sitting in the QualiSight viewing room find value in discussing what is going on in the group with their colleagues in real-time. Having this private meeting space gives them the opportunity to offer immediate feedback on different topics covered in the focus group.
  4. Often focus groups are more cost-effective than other market research projects that involve a larger scope. With having our own onsite focus group facility here at RMS, there is no need for us to use an outside focus group facility in Central NY to conduct qualitative research, which would result in a higher price passed along to the client.

Interested in doing a focus group in Northern NY?  Our QualiSight focus group facility is located right outside of Syracuse, just a short drive from Watertown. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Krell at or by calling 315-635-9802.  For more information on our focus group facility in Central NY click here.

Small portions of this blog post are taken from a Quirks article written by Judith Langer and Jon Last from December 2003, titled “Still a Valuable Tool”.