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The Focus Group Road Show - Staying Sane Away From Home

focus group / market research / research design / featured / blog / qualitative
A focus group project doesn’t necessarily involve travel—FMG certainly conducts a lot of focus groups here in our Arlington, VA office, and remote and online methods are being used more and more as the technological options expand. But when the goal of a project is to collect qualitative data from a diverse population of respondents, chances are this involves a moderator packing a suitcase and heading out on the road. Fors Marsh Group Travel Blog Post In the past few years of traveling the country to moderate groups, I've developed a few rules and want to share some tips to ensure your work goes smoothly and that you stay healthy - physically and mentally.

Working on the Road

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Respecting Your Participants - Ethical Considerations in Focus Groups

focus group / market research / research design / featured / blog / qualitative
Focus groups, unlike some other forms of research, can feel quite informal. In fact, some of the best groups can look more like a table of friends chatting than a formal data collection effort. However, researchers always need to remember that focus groups (as well as one-on-one interviews and other qualitative methods) are research, and the same ethical requirements apply. If you’re working with a governmental agency or a university, you may need to have your project reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But even when your focus group effort does require these formal reviews, it is still important for researchers to remember their ethical responsibility to their participants. The most fundamental ethical behavior... more
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FMG Heads to the 69th AAPOR Conference in Anaheim

conferences / public opinion / research design / news
Arlington, Virginia – May 14, 2014 –FMG employees will head to Anaheim for the 69th American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Conference at the Anaheim Marriott. This year's theme is “Measurement and the Role of Public Opinion in a Democracy.” The AAPOR conference features cutting-edge educational sessions, in-depth short courses, informal access to leaders in the field, and an informative exhibit hall with representatives from key service and product providers. For those headed to AAPOR, keep your eye out for FMG’s poster sessions and paper presentations: Eye Tracking the User Experience of a Smartphone and Web Data Collection Tool Jennifer Romano Bergstrom, Fors Marsh Group Michael Link, The Nielsen Company Kelly Bristol, The Nielsen Company The Impact of Deadlines on the Effectiveness of Incentives... more
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Answering a Big Question with a Small Sample: Estimating the Size of the Overseas Citizen Population

client work / market research / military research / research design / voting / blog
The Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is charged with ensuring that active duty military and U.S. citizens residing overseas have the opportunity to vote is U.S. elections. While the U.S. government keeps track of the size and location of active duty military, similar information is not available for overseas civilians. In an attempt to address this lack of information about this important population, FVAP tasked FMG with developing estimates of the size of the overseas civilian population by country. In this blog, I will briefly discuss the approach FMG used to develop these estimates as well as the results. It is FMG’s hope that general approach described here can provide guidance to researchers who face similar problems with respect to developing predictive models... more
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Focus Group Best Practices: Dry Run

focus group / market research / research design / featured / blog / qualitative
Getting ready to start a focus group project can be stressful. You probably have a huge list of data you need to collect, and not that many groups to do it in. If a line of questions doesn’t work, or an activity is a flop, you may not have time to make changes. One strategy that can help you make every group as useful as possible is to do a dry run. When we’re getting ready to start a focus group project, we ask people office to act as test participants, bring them together in a room, and use the moderator’s guide to conduct a mock group. This gives us opportunity to test the questions, try out activities, and establish how long things will take.... more
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Better Data in Five Steps: UX Testing

eye tracking / research design / usability / user experience / blog
Last week, Jen wrote about resolutions for being a UX Champion. This week, I want to highlight five simple ways that UX research teams can improve the UX testing environment. Improving the testing environment in the following ways will ensure the validity of data and provide participants with a more pleasant experience. 1. Don’t interrupt. The UX data collection process often relies on concurrent think aloud protocol. In this method, researchers ask participants to think aloud and narrate everything they are doing (e.g., reading, searching for links, interpreting graphics). This method is valued by UX researchers because it allows us to hear things like initial impressions of design features and experiences using site search and navigation. Users’ comments are very powerful when inserted into... more
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Data is Not Inspirational to Everybody: The Importance of Communicating Research Effectively

market research / blog / research design
As market researchers, we love data and numbers. So it is difficult for us to comprehend that not everyone is a numbers person (wait, what?!? Some people don’t like math?). We’re hired for a reason: we have the expertise to conduct quality research and answer tough questions. But part of this job is making sure we answer these tough questions the right way—not just maintaining the proper methodology and rigor, but answering so that our client understands. Therefore, we’ve had to learn to adapt how we communicate our research findings to resonate with clients of varying levels of research understanding. We need to communicate complex ideas data-heavy ideas in a way anyone can understand—clear, visually, not technical-heavy, and not text-heavy. However, it is more than... more
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Eye Tracking Your Mobile User Experience

eye tracking / research design / user experience / usability / blog
Mobile devices are transforming how we use technology. Pew Research Center reported in June, 2013 that 56% of all US adults own a smartphone (1), and that number is only expected to increase in the years to come. As a result of increased ownership, there has been a surge in usage of mobile versus desktop computers for exploring online everyday needs – from checking email and social media, to shopping, banking, document creation, and socializing. For example, Pew also reported that 32% of US adults now bank using their mobile phones (2). As a result, the usability of mobile platforms and applications is more important than ever as people rely on their handheld device. For the average mobile user, even after becoming comfortable using a... more
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