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ampersand research market research nottingham qualitative & quantitative
ampersand research market research nottingham qualitative & quantitative

Qualitative research – is it time to call last orders on evening focus groups?

Just cast your mind back to last night and what you were doing at 9.30pm?

  • Settled down on the sofa catching up on some TV?

  • Running around sorting out school uniforms, packing school bags and making lunch for today?

  • Finishing off a report for work, maybe responding to some work emails?

  • Already in bed and in the land of nod?!

And now cast your mind back to how you were feeling last night at 9.30pm? Perhaps a little tired, maybe running out of energy and winding down after a busy day whilst mentally preparing for the next day. I am guessing that you were not in the mindset to talk in depth about your preferred packaging designs or your interest in a new concept or your reason for using a specific brand or product!

At ampersand research we use qualitative research to understand opinions, thoughts and feelings of a target audience and rely on participants contribution to the research. Their input is crucial to the success of the project and the quality of the insights gained.

For decades focus groups have been scheduled to take place after the working day has finished. For example, the first session at around 6pm and the second session at around 8pm, with each session typically lasting 1.5 – 2 hours. Whilst a session ran straight after work can be convenient to the participant and productive in output, we have started to question groups that start later in the evening. Too often we see those in the later sessions starting to feel the strain, having worked a full day but with still a group to participate in and then a journey home to contend with.

At ampersand research we have decided to call time on focus groups starting after 7pm!

Instead we have been working with recruiters and viewing facilities to run daytime and weekend sessions.

The wake-up call came when we ran a Saturday morning focus group. Those recruited were fresh, enthusiastic and keen to take part. They were free from the stresses of a long day at work, looking after children, battling rush hour and instead were raring to go! A complete contrast in the energy levels we were experiencing at 9.30pm on a weekday!

So next time you are planning to run focus groups or indeed any type of qualitative sessions think about how you can get the most out of your participants – will a session finishing after 10pm will give you the best results, or would a daytime or weekend session be more productive?

If you would like to find out more about how ampersand research can help with your research needs please feel free to drop us an email: or give us a call on 0115 9932343

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