QRCA Views

Sex, Southern Baptists and Starkville, Mississippi

Several people have asked me to expand on my experience that was mentioned in the QRCA Views Winter 2012 issue and included in a recent blog post “Road Warriors Reveal Steamy (and Funny) Side of Qual.”  So, below is the whole story as I sent it to Joel Reish of Next Level Research, former QRCA President, article author and friend.

My favorite was the time I was brought in on a study regarding sex education materials among Southern Baptists in Starkville, Mississippi.

There was no facility so we had to contract with a hotel.  So I made arrangements for the hotel to host the group and to stay there that evening.  The hotel didn’t have A/V services so we contracted with the Mississippi State A/V dept to video the group.

We were able to work everything out and get it all arranged.  20|20 Research recruited 12 Baptists to come to the hotel to talk about sex eduction.  It was all set.  You can’t fly into Starkville; but you can fly into Columbus, rent a car and make the 45 minute drive to Starkville.  So I did.  As luck would have it, my flight was late and I arrived in Columbus about an hour before the group was to begin.  I rushed to the car and drove to Starkville as quickly as possible wondering what it would be like to be arrested for speeding in rural Mississippi.

I finally pulled up to the hotel about 15 minutes before group time.  The hotel was historic (old) and had obviously been through several renovations.  I remember thinking it seemed  to be straight off the set of a John Wayne western.  When I walked in, there are several people milling about the lobby, obviously my Baptists.  As we often do, I tried to enter without being to conspicuous.  Upon arriving at the counter, I find my “State” A/V man standing there waiting on me.  I felt a huge sigh of relief when he assured me that everything was “already set up and ready to go.”

He offered to lead me to the filming location so I could double-check the set up and prepare for the group.  He led me through numerous hallways that seemed to snake forever through this old, renovated hotel until we finally reached the door.  He smirked as we arrived and I wondered what he was thinking.   Then he opened the door to show me his camera set up.  To my shock, he had set up the camera in my bedroom!  The reason for his smirk became obvious as my mind raced to understand how to deal with my  Baptist sex education group.

I was horrified.  Within minutes, I was relieved to discover that the hotel had a spare conference room available.  The Mississippi State A/V man moved his equipment very quickly and we were able to start the group only about 15 minutes late.

Not only was the set-up nerve-wracking, it was a prelude to one of my “worst-group-ever” experiences.  But thats another story for another time.

If you have a story to tell, please share it.  This is one of the greatest professions in the world!


4 Right Times to Conduct a Webcam Focus Group

The Summer 2011 edition of QRCA Views contains an article by our very own Tara Chambers (aka Tara Smith) titled, “When is the Best Time to Conduct Webcam Focus Groups?”

Tara identifies four “right times” in her article and provides case studies with each one. Here is a brief overview:

  1. To meet tight timelines. The pace of decision-making continues to increase; therefore, time pressure on researchers continues to increase as well. Using webcam interviewing eliminates travel while gaining geographic diversity. This benefit is becoming even more accessible with ever-faster recruiting capabilities available from 20|20 and other national recruiting organizations.
  2. To interview respondents in their natural setting. Using webcams allows the researcher into the respondent’s home or office. This access can be very beneficial for product discussions and other uses when the researcher wants to see the respondent demonstrate a product or show competitive products in the environment.
  3. To tightly control shared stimuli. The webcam stimuli software ensures that each respondent views each piece of stimuli in the same way.  This consistency can eliminate some uncertainty in respondents’ reactions to ads, packaging or concepts.
  4. To schedule low incidence populations. The web is a great way to reach low-incidence populations because geography is not an issue; respondents can be from anywhere.  The methodology is also helpful when dealing with difficult to recruit populations (CEOs, doctors, plumbers, etc.) because they do not have to come to a central location and their interview can be fit into a convenient slot in the interview schedule.

Like all other methodologies, webcam interviews are not right for every project. However, the method does provide many advantages in the right context.  As more people have computers with webcams and get more comfortable using them, webcam focus groups and in-depth interviews will continue their rapid growth rate in our industry.

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