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If you have ever participated in a qualitative focus group or group discussion, your recruiter will need to tell you about any audio or video that goes on to help the researcher write their report afterwards. It is important that during the discussion the conversation can take place and take place naturally without holding back or interrupting the taking of notes or asking for repetition, and these days recording and even streaming live streaming are very normal. Of course, you are protected by the code of conduct of the UK’s Market Research Society and similar bodies in other countries, and the idea of ​​video surveillance and recording is so much more enjoyable to people today that the camera is in the corner. rooms rarely feel uncomfortable or intrusive.

Many professional research institutions, however, have another feature that you won’t find in the average living room, which looks like a huge mirror, often filling one wall. It does not look exactly like a normal mirror and it is because it is not one – as everyone knows it has one reflective surface, in the study room, but on the other hand it acts like a window. Behind the glass is a client who wants to watch the research that is going on. The name ‘two-way mirror’ isn’t really that good, it would make sense to describe it as a one-way window, because that’s how it works. If the lights were on in the back room, you would see them sitting there, they would have to watch you in a brightly lit studio sitting there in the dark.

The moderator who leads the research group will of course point to the mirror and let you know if there are people behind it – usually there are, if someone pays for the viewing service, they will want to view the groups directly. But part of the job of the moderator is to make it easy for each participant to do their job, and while it may be difficult to imagine when you first notice the large gray wall and see your scared face reflected in it, you will soon forget that it is there. ! Once you get caught up in a discussion and share your thoughts in a well-planned and lively group, it will simply disappear in the background.

Of course, on one level you will know that it is not just a bunch of talking friends – it is a guided discussion intended to discover certain things from your point of view, and someone pays for it, hence the mirror, the camera and the great sandwich drawers. But when a researcher does his or her job well, you can shift all that consciousness to one side and be caught reacting to what is being said, confident in knowing that the industry is tagging codes and implementing controls that they see and know very safely – so your comments can to share in complete safety. It’s actually a lot less intrusive than having a bunch of onlookers sit in a room, take notes or raise eyebrows depending on what someone says about their product or brand!

Why are people still sitting behind mirrors, nowadays video and streaming technology? There are a number of reasons. Most researchers would say it has nothing to do with the habitat or what they have always done, and they tell you to simply get close to the real atmosphere and insights of the room when you are sitting a few feet away from it and not looking alone. screen at home. They know that staying in the room alone can unnecessarily affect the discussion, but they are willing to get as close as they can and choose who to pay attention to at any time. The video is great and better every day, but the nuances of body language and facial expressions can be difficult to capture, especially in a group, and different observers will have different priorities and notice different things. Qualitative research is often as close to the customer experience as possible without changing what you are trying to discover … and using two-way or one-way glass in a viewing facility is a good way to simulate yes.

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by Maya Middlemiss

 

 

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