Evidence-Based Innovation Blog

Adapting to COVID-19: 5 Steps to Avoid Online Focus Group Disasters

Posted on Feb 3, 2021 8:51:54 AM

Understanding prospective customer and student needs and what will best serve them is especially critical during this unprecedented time. How can institutions help them feel connected? Which concerns must be addressed for in-person delivery? What barriers exist to enrolling this year?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced corporations to pivot to digital channels and universities to virtual instruction, many organizations have shifted to virtual focus groups to capture critical information typically gathered through in-person focus groups.

However, online focus groups present unique challenges - have you ever had a virtual focus group go “off the rails” like this 'unity' themed focus group from ex-GOP pollster Frank Luntz? 

“The Zoom session was swiftly derailed by shouting, crosstalk, disputes over basic facts and even deeply personal attacks, such as one panelist mocking another for sharing his mother's death from COVID-19.” (view both short videos below)

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Tags: Qualitative Research, Focus Groups, Steve Keppel

When Should Business Schools Engage Focus Groups or In-Depth Interviews?

Posted on May 15, 2012 9:00:00 AM

Have you ever wished you could get inside the heads of people in your target audience?  To hear what words people use to describe their perceptions of your brand?  To see patterns in how people assess your value proposition?  To learn how your offerings bring meaning to their lives?

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Tags: Qualitative Research, In-depth Interviews, Joyce Kurpiers, Focus Groups

Business School Focus Groups: Learning from a Community of Stakeholders

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 8:15:00 AM

To manage brands and tailor institutional offerings, business schools can capitalize on trends in how our target audience members express needs, thoughts, and feelings about our offerings.  To gain that insight, focus groups benefit from the effects of group dynamics, which stimulate thinking, ideas, conversations, and reactions to our products and brands.

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Tags: Qualitative Research, Joyce Kurpiers, Focus Groups

Business School Qualitative Research: Face-to-Face or Online?

Posted on Jan 3, 2011 10:05:00 AM


As non-traditional qualitative techniques, such as online bulletin board research and mobile phone SMS research, have come into vogue with marketers, there’s been a lot of buzz in the market research community about their quality in comparison to traditional methods like ethnographies and focus group research.

The debate currently focuses on traditional in-person focus groups or interviews versus non-traditional Internet-based research techniques. A perusal of posts and articles, in addition to my ten years of direct experience in qualitative research, indicates that both have merits and drawbacks that can drive decisions when choosing the right methodology.

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Tags: Dinesh Mathew, Qualitative Research, Focus Groups