Bulletin Board Focus Groups

Discover asynchronous online discussion boards

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, asynchronous online discussions are conducted over multiple days with participants sharing their thoughts at their convenience.

During an online bulletin board discussion, questions are posted to a secure website and participants answer the posted questions each day. The moderator of the discussion logs in throughout the day to see how it is progressing and to ask clarifying questions. An asynchronous online discussion can last 3 – 5 days or several weeks, depending on the depth of the topic being discussed.

This online format provides an opportunity to create online communities or have participants journal about topics that are relevant to the research.

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 asynchronous online discussion boards is that they may take up more of the participants’ time over multiple days versus 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 synchronous online focus groups and asynchronous online discussions?

Synchronous Online Focus Groups

  • Occur within a 2 hour time frame
  • All participants are logged in at the same time
  • Move quickly – great when you are looking for immediate top of mind responses
  • Feedback from 8-10 respondents
  • Responses are short and brief

Asynchronous Online Discussion Boards

  • Run over 3-5 days or longer
  • 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