I experienced something new yesterday. I’ve now been introduced to research called ‘focus groups’. This actually made for a pretty interesting morning.
I’d received the call early in the week. I honestly thought it was just another scam, to put it bluntly. You know, you answer a bunch of questions only to get a phone call a day or so later trying to get you to sign up for something, by something, etc. etc. I’ve answered more political surveys since just before the primary elections than in my entire voting career. Thank God for call id, which is new to us but now included in our calling plan. Now I screen calls!!!!
I don’t know why I picked this call up. I was wary, even after talking to this woman. I thought, ‘oh God, what did I just get myself into’. And yet, I was told I would actually get a particular sum of money for my participation. I honestly didn’t know what to think. Turns out, not long after I hung up the phone, that she returned my call to say that my demographic category was already filled, but would I be willing to be on standby if someone dropped out.
Wednesday I got another call asking me to participate. I’m still a bit stunned that I agreed. I still had a hard time believing this was on the up and up. So, I did what most of us nowadays would do, I took it to the internet since they provided a website on the confirmation email.
I had never heard of focus groups before. This group does all kinds of research in this manner. It could be for a mock jury or something like that. I don’t remember all the categories. I think the jury one struck me odd. I didn’t know anyone held mock juries. I think I found that a bit humorous.
Long story short, and with no real details, I made the hour drive and participated in this focus group. We had a bite to eat, (and more coffee! 5 am is still a bit early!) filled out several questionaires, signed a couple of confidentiality forms (hence no details!), then found out just why we were gathered.
We ended up listening to a statement which was read, answered as a group a few questions then watched a short video. We again filled out some paperwork then answered and asked questions. After a short break we went through the process again. I think we were all amazed at our responses after the second video.
The morning went quite quickly and was not the least boring. I walked away with many new insights and there may be things in the future that I will just never see in the same light again. And it still is amazing that we were paid for our thoughts, questions and opinions. My husband thought that could be a dangerous thing! haha!