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Choosing a Qualitative Approach

Traditional Focus Groups

If you want the opportunity to hear and see respondents as they are providing feedback, traditional focus groups are the best choice. The face-to-face setting of traditional focus groups allows you the flexibility of using a boardroom environment or simulating specific settings like a store display shelf or living room. Traditional focus groups also work well for exploring feelings and motivations in response to pictures, video, audio and physical objects (think product packaging).

Online Focus Groups

To get qualitative feedback from a geographically dispersed audience, online focus groups are an effective alternative. Online focus groups also work well if you are exploring personally sensitive topics, such as healthcare or weight loss. The Web interface for online focus groups gives you the opportunity to capture respondent feedback about pictures, video and audio.

Perception Analyzer® Groups

If you want to combine the advantages of in-depth, exploratory discussion with the statistical reliability of quantitative research, Perception Analyzer® (PA) groups are a great choice. PA groups promote honest communication and full participation of the group through nonverbal and anonymous quantitative feedback while giving you the chance to immediately explore the “why” behind the group’s responses.

In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

With virtually unlimited scheduling flexibility, in-depth interviews often are the best choice when you are seeking feedback from individuals in busy professional roles. If your research involves topics respondents might not feel comfortable discussing face-to-face or in a group setting, in-depth interviews provide a variety of ways to increase respondent willingness to share personal feelings and experiences.

Online Communities

Your feedback needs might not be a one-time event. Online communities allow you to engage a particular audience in ongoing discussions – exchanging ideas, answering questions and observing behaviors. Like online focus groups, online communities work well when your audience is geographically dispersed. Also like online focus groups, the Web interface allows presentation of pictures, videos and audio.


For feedback during or immediately following an event or experience, intercepts are an effective option. Intercepts give you the opportunity to capture the feelings and reactions in the heat of the moment. Intercepts work particularly well when you have a situation or environment that is not easy to replicate or simulate. They also provide an opportunity to recruit participants for more in-depth research.