Bulletin Board Focus Groups

Discover bulletin board focus groups

Online Bulletin Board Discussions are another option for online qualitative research. The discussion is held online, however rather than a specific block of time with everyone participating simultaneously, Online Bulletin Board Discussions are conducted over multiple days with participants sharing their thoughts at their convenience.

How does the bulletin board discussion work?

During an online bulletin board discussion, questions are posted to a secure website and participants answer the posted questions each day. As the participants answer the questions, others can comment on their answers or post their own thoughts. The moderator of the bulletin board discussion logs in throughout the day to see how the discussion is progressing. They encourage interaction between the participants. A bulletin board discussion can last 3 – 5 days or weeks, depending on the depth of the topic being discussed.

Bulletin board discussion groups are desirable when working with professionals or hard to reach participants, who are generally unable to schedule two consecutive hours to participate in a group discussion. The participants are encouraged to log in to the discussion at their leisure throughout the study.

Bulletin boards are also used to discuss sensitive or thought provoking topics. The online medium gives the participants a level of disguise, so they feel a sense of anonymity with their opinion. It also creates a sense of ease when developing their responses. The participants do not feel rushed to come up with answers, nor do they have to wait for someone else to respond to the question. The responses are often detailed and can include not only their answer, but also why they responded as they did.

As with any form of online research, this methodology eliminates geographic barriers, allowing people from all across the world to participate together in a group discussion.

A drawback for bulletin board discussion is, they may take up more of the participants’ time over multiple days, than a traditional one night discussion. Participation can taper off, as people get busy over the course of the study, and their participation becomes less of a personal priority.

What are the differences between online and bulletin board focus groups?

Real-time Online Focus Groups

  • Occurs within a 2 hour timeframe
  • All participants are logged in at the same time
  • Moves quickly – great for reactions to advertising or when you are looking for immediate top of mind responses
  • Feedback from 8-10 respondents
  • Responses are short and brief

Bulletin Board Discussion Groups

  • Runs over 3-4 days
  • Participants log in several times per day, at their convenience
  • Slower paced – allows responses to be carefully thought out
  • Feedback from 12-15 participants
  • Responses are detailed and answer the entire question