Qualitative Research Venues: A Latimer Appleby Useful Guide
At Latimer Appleby, we are often asked: “Where is the best place to hold focus groups?” or “Where is the best place to hold depth interviews?” Our responses generally include:
If your company’s identity, your product or service are to be made explicit, it is important that the accommodation used reflects the image you wish to portray.
The location should be chosen with convenience for respondents firmly in mind. If the participants are likely to use public transport to reach the venue then look for good public transport links. If the participants are likely to drive then look for nearby parking facilities. To be on the safe side choose a venue with both. NB Convenient public transport and parking facilities also make it easier to recruit participants.
The space itself
For focus groups, the room should be big enough to accommodate both respondents and observers – allow for a maximum of fifteen people. We usually arrange our respondents sitting in a circle and any observers should sit “at the back”. The room should have some natural light and a comfortable temperature – neither too warm nor too cold. It should be totally quiet – no noisy air conditioning or heating unit to disrupt the voice recording. It should be closed off to prevent people wandering in and tea/coffee/water – but not alcohol – should be available. Having a separate area to meet and greet the respondents, so they can gather until everyone has arrived, is also really helpful.
Using your own premises
Be aware that using your own premises may not be the ideal solution. For example, coffee shop users are less likely to be critical of their experience if groups take place in an outlet of the coffee shop being researched.
Most branded hotel chains offer good facilities for holding focus groups or depth interviews. Many have syndicate style rooms used for business meetings. These are ideal as they are typically designed to be neutral yet will also look professional.
If you would like the focus group or depth interview to be filmed, a bespoke studio should be used. These are available across the UK. Such locations have separate observation rooms, which are fitted with two-way mirrors. If a viewing facility is not available, filming can be arranged through a freelance professional service. Although many smartphones have their own video camera these are unlikely to provide professional grade film quality.
You can, of course, just leave everything to us. We will use our experience to choose the right venue for you. We’ll also make sure the focus groups and/or depth interviews are conducted in optimal surroundings. Selecting the right environment can make a big a difference to the quality of the data and the depth of views we are able to capture.
We hope that you enjoyed our How to Qualitative Research guide – to find out more, contact us.