The research area of focus groups have been an integral part of the domain of marketing research for a long time. They help narrow down issues or challenges, while at the same time allowing for a creative or problem solving process to take place. Participants are usually placed in a small chamber and recorded or observed while going through a partly scripted or scheduled discussion of a subject matter or stimuli. In Digital marketing focus groups are used in relation to brand associations, the early and intermediate stages of website and app design and in the evaluation of experiences. While hosting many focus groups may limit the effects of group dynamics on individual opinions, the observation method is just as important for adequately valid and reliable results. Commonly used within these studies are recording equipment and eye-tracking or observation chambers.
The right recording equipment can make a big impact on the ability to analyze studies. Whether you use television studio like mobile field recording kits, static microphones or camera systems, the analysis can be challenging. Luckily the BMS lab has licenses for transcription software Amberscript and its very own Sociometric app. While the first allows for fairly accurate transcriptions, the latter also allows for the analysis of speech patterns based upon dominance, tone, dynamic levels and speed within and between groups.
The BMS lab has several forms of eye-tracking available. They do as the name suggests and track eye movement, gaze and stare. This means researchers can accurately follow reading and viewing patterns and answer questions related to visual stimuli. Both a version of the Tobii eye-tracker exists that can be easily attached to any screen (combine this with a screen capture device) or one that can be worn as a set of glasses. The latter allows for a wider use and even without the need of a screen, but is as a result more complex to analyze.
The use of observation rooms has been a long tradition in many fields associated with the social sciences. Through the use of a one-way-mirror one can unobtrusively observe a group of participants that take part in a focus group session. The room allows for live recording and discussions while the session on the other side is going on.