One of the main problems for researchers is the generating the right data that they can use. Since you have a hypothesis before you start, the design of the research is towards the validation or the rejection of the hypothesis. There are times when researchers are becoming too hard (too irritating!) on the respondents or the participants to focus group discussions to the point where the respondents would just give answers they thought would be the “right” answer that the researchers would like to hear. In the end we may have the data but it may be useless since it was squeezed out.
This brings us to the point that in market research, we have to have a relaxed atmosphere where respondents and researchers can share freely. Researchers are supposed to be facilitators who will coach respondents to bring out what is really in their minds. Respondents on the other hand will react to how they are being guided and cued in their sharing.
Some tips in doing interviews and focus group discussions:
- Be relaxed. Smile a lot to convey you’re a friend and not an interrogator.
- Ask questions slowly so that the participants can hear it clearly. Allow sometime for them to think and organize their answers.
- Listen. That means active listening and getting the essence of what the participants are saying.
- Ask probing questions to confirm what you hear, to clarify what you do not understand or you want more details or additional information.
- Always thank the participants after each interview or discussion.