Panel Participant FAQs

WHAT IS A FOCUS GROUP?

A focus group is a gathering of people brought together to talk about a particular topic. Most focus groups have 10-12 people in them, but smaller groups are also held. The setting is usually informal and the discussion is led by a trained focus group leader, or moderator. Sometimes, representative from the sponsoring business might view the focus group remotely. The purpose of the focus group is to gather feedback, opinions, and share ideas of products and services. POWER MARKETING RESEARCH has conducted focus groups on everything from kitchen faucets to museum exhibits.

WHAT IS A PANEL?

A panel is a group of people who are asked to provide their opinions about products and services. If you are asked to join a panel you might be providing your opinions several times. The panel may last several weeks or months and sometimes up to a year. The time commitment for the panel will be made clear before we ask you to join.

WHY ARE WE ASKING YOU FOR DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION?

The companies that need focus groups and panelists are looking for people in their target market. We use your demographic information to help us target the right group of people for the focus group. For example, a company may be looking for the opinions of married men, ages 45-55, with two vehicles. Your identity will be held in the strictest of confidence and will never be shared with anyone outside of the scope of the research project. We do not sell or give your information to any third party. Please read our privacy policy for more information.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO HAPPEN IF I SIGN UP?

You may be called to see if you are interested in participating in a focus group or panel. We will ask a series of questions to determine if your background fits the topic or requirements for the project. Please answer honestly. If a person does not qualify to participate in a study, the focus group company or research sponsor is not obligated to compensate the individual. Focus groups are typically two hours and are held at various times during the day and evening. You are not obligated to participate, and you can say "no" at any time. You will never be sold to or asked to buy something at one of our focus groups.

WHAT AGE OF PARTICIPANT DO YOU NEED?

We need participants of all ages. Children or youth under 21 will need their parent's permission to participate. We also have special rules and regulations about inviting children and youth to focus groups. In addition to parental permission, children and youth must give their own permission to participate.

WILL I BE COMPENSATED FOR THE FOCUS GROUP?

Many focus group or interviews include some type of compensation. Focus groups are typically two hours and interviews are one hour. Participants are usually paid $50 or more for participating. Occasionally, we have projects where there is no compensation.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING IN A FOCUS GROUP, AN INTERVIEW, AND BEING ON A PANEL?

A focus group is a discussion with several people. Interviews are typically conducted on a one-on-one basis. Being on a panel is usually a more in-depth process. You might be asked to provide your opinion on an ongoing basis, several times, and over a longer period of time.

HOW DO I KNOW IF A RESEARCH COMPANY IS LEGITIMATE?

One big red flag is if a company asks you to pay to participate in a project. For example, if you see an online ad soliciting mystery shoppers that requires you to pay to sign up, it is usually not legitimate. Established market research companies have a website, clients, and are accessible via the phone and email.