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  • The number of focus group discussions or interviews you’ll conduct. If you’re using focus groups, conduct at least two groups with each audience segment. For example, if you’re conducting separate groups with men and women, you’ll need at least four groups: two with men and two with women. If you’re using individual interviews, conduct about 10 interviews per audience segment.

If audience perceptions vary or the audience feedback is unclear, you may want to conduct additional groups or interviews, especially if you revise the moderator/interviewer guide to further explore unresolved issues.

Step 2: Choose the location and format for focus groups or interviews.

You can conduct focus groups or interviews in several ways:

  • Commercial focus group facilities can recruit participants. These facilities offer audio recording equipment, video recording equipment, or both and one- way mirrors with observation rooms. However, commercial facilities are often expensive and may not be available in small towns.

  • Teleconference services can set up telephone focus groups. Most teleconference services allow observers to listen without being heard. Some have the capability to allow the moderator to see a list of participants (with a symbol next to the one currently

Chapter 3: Gaining and Using Target Audience Insights

speaking) or to see notes sent by a technician from observers listening to the call. Some teleconference services also can recruit participants.

  • You can conduct focus groups or interviews in meeting rooms at office buildings, schools, places of worship, homes, or other locations. If an observation room with a one-way mirror isn’t available, allow staff to listen by hooking up speakers or closed-circuit TV in a nearby room or by audio recording the session, video recording the session, or both. In some cases, you may have one or two quiet observers taking notes in the room.

Step 3: Draft a recruitment screener.

A recruitment screener is a short questionnaire that is administered to potential participants,

typically by telephone, to ensure that they meet the criteria you developed in Step 1. Your contractor, if you have one, will administer this questionnaire. The screener should help you to exclude people who know one another or have expertise in the subject of the sessions. Potential participants can be told the general subject area (e.g., “a health topic”), but they shouldn’t be told the specific subject. If participants know the subject in advance, they

may formulate ideas or study to become more knowledgeable about the subject. Furthermore, if

participants know one another, they may speak

less freely. For similar reasons, they also shouldn’t

be told who the sponsor is.

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