This is the text as it appeared in QRCA Views, Spring 1996 issue.
The Focus Group Bill Of Rights
By Tom Greenbaum
The Client's Rights
- To retain a moderator who is an experienced and competent professional in focus group research.
- To know who will conduct the groups and who will be writing the report before signing the contract with the research company.
- To receive a discussion guide well in advance of the groups in order to provide input to the moderator relative to modifications.
- To agree to all recruitment specifications and to review a copy of the recruitment screening questionnaire before participants are asked to come to the groups.
- To be provided with a one-page summary of the participants (without last names, addresses, or phone numbers as per the QRCA Code of Ethics) in each session with key screening criteria identified.
- To be provided with a formal, written report of the groups on or before the date agreed upon.
- To be provided with information about the various research Codes of Ethics (QRCA, CMOR, RIC) with respect to respondent confidentiality and respect.
- To have full groups of qualified participants who arrive on time at the facility, understanding that there will be some exceptions.
The Moderator's Rights
- To be treated as a partner in the research project rather than a vendor of goods or services or an adjunct staff member.
- To be paid promptly by the client organization according to contractual agreements.
- To receive feedback from the client about the discussion guide well in advance of the actual focus groups to permit sufficient time for final preparations.
- To review any stimuli to be used in the groups (i.e., concepts, products, advertising, etc.) at least 48 hours before the sessions to permit an adequate review of the materials and appropriate amendments to the guide and to understand that there will be some exceptions.
The Facilities' Rights
- To be given written, detailed instructions by the moderator relative to recruiting specifications for the groups.
- To be paid the anticipated incentives in advance and the balance of the charges within a 30 day period following the completion of the last group.
- To be advised immediately when reservations for space being held are to be canceled.
- To be treated as a partner in the research project process rather than just a vendor of goods and services.
- To be treated with respect before, during and after the focus group sessions.
- To be respected for knowledge of the area in which they live.
- To be given adequate time to recruit groups, and not be pressured into unrealistic situations due to disorganization by clients or moderators.
- To have their facilities treated with the same respect with which moderators and clients would treat their own offices or homes.
The Respondent's Rights
- To be told the general content of the discussion to preclude them participating in a subject about which they would not feel comfortable.
- To be told about video or audio taping of sessions and the presence of people observing the sessions from behind the one-way mirror.
- To be paid for coming to the groups in the event they are not selected for participation, presuming they arrived at the facility within ten minutes of the agreed upon starting time.
- To be treated with dignity and respect by the personnel at the facility and those conducting the research in the room and behind the mirror.
- To receive light food and beverages consistent with the time of day the groups are held.
- To have the right to withdraw or not answer any question or sample any product at any time.
- To be assured of confidentiality; that is, that their names, addresses, phone numbers or personal information will not be released to clients or anyone else without their permission.
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