Together Like Never Before: Harnessing the Power of Online Focus Groups

Molly Rutledge

Data, Analytics, Focus Groups, QualBoard

March 30, 2021

Together Like Never Before: Harnessing the Power of Online Focus Groups

Quantitative data is our bread and butter here at Causeway Solutions, driving the bulk of our analyses and providing plenty of insights, but QUALitative data is the jam that adds color and flavor, enabling deeper analysis and more nuanced insights. Quantitative data can tell us who we need to talk to, but qualitative data tells us how to talk to them, what to say, and why it will work.

Historically, Causeway Solutions has used focus groups as a tool for collecting qualitative data – identifying a key audience, traveling to locations where that audience is concentrated, and sitting down with 8-10 members of the key audience to discuss their opinions. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has made such research trickier, which is when we began looking into online methods for conducting qualitative research and found QualBoard™ by Schlesinger Group.

QualBoard™ is a robust platform that offers several different research configurations, but the setup Causeway Solutions uses is a three-day, asynchronous discussion board that allows us to dive into the opinions of our targeted audiences. The platform makes it easy for us to ask open-ended questions, show various types of media, and probe for more details when warranted.

While QualBoard™ does not produce the same level of interaction you might get from sitting in the same room with a small group of people, this approach delivers some benefits that are impossible to achieve in a traditional focus group:

  • First, we are able to engage people from across a state or even nationally in one group, which can cut down on the number of groups needed while giving people who live outside of cities with focus group facilities a chance to have their opinions heard.
  • Second, with focus groups we often like to split men and women into separate groups to produce a better environment for expressing ideas. However, with the logic available in the QualBoard platform, we can conduct separate conversation streams within the same discussion.
  • Finally, in traditional focus groups, there is almost always a person or two who dominates a conversation and a person or two who barely participates. The QualBoard™ tool requires participants to answer every question – and will not allow them to see others’ answers before providing their own, meaning everyone participates. This means we get to hear from every participant, ultimately giving us a more well-rounded picture to present to our clients.

Online focus groups present some neat new opportunities for collecting feedback in ways that we rarely could in the traditional setting. There is definitely still a place for traditional focus groups in Causeway Solutions’ business, but now there is also a definite place for QualBoard™ as well.

Ready to learn more? Contact Causeway Solutions to get started!