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Market Research Options

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Market Research Options

As the group saw it, they could limit the study by age, by neighborhood, or by socioeconomic bracket, they could include all Bostonians, or they could attempt some combination of the above. Further, a number of research options seemed plausible.

Quantitative Surveys A large-scale, citywide survey covering 750 to 1,000 individuals could be done by telephone for about $15,000 or by mail for about $10,000. It would take about two months to implement once the questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire normally was structured and the order of questions predetermined. Several pretesting runs would be required to perfect the details and wording of the questions. An established market research firm would search its database for respondents fitting given characteristics and would administer the questionnaire. Response rates for such surveys averaged between 5% to 20%. Descriptive tables and statistical correlations between background, behavior, and attitudes could be developed. Popularly referred to as an Awareness and Usage study, it had the advantage of generating "objective data," not biased by interviewer's interpretations.

Qualitative Surveys Focus groups consisting of eight to ten persons per group would cost between $500 and $1,500 per session. The sessions normally lasted an hour to an hour and a half, and participants were paid $25 to $50 for their time. Participants would be motivated to discuss their attitudes and behavior toward drugs. The focus group moderator, operating from a "protocol" of research questions, would lead the group to discuss each of the topics, but the order and detail were basically an outcome of the group process. The moderator only loosely guided the flow of the discussion. When the dynamics were right, focus groups could act as brainstorming sessions and provide creative ideas and insights to the researchers. Focus group moderation normally required training and experience, but the discussion itself could be taped and interpreted by the researchers themselves. Professional psychologists were, at times, hired to interpret focus group data, and that would cost additional money.

One-on-One Interviews Consumers could be interviewed individually in a more open-ended and unstructured format than surveys. Often led by trained counselors, these would cost between $50 and $100 per person depending on the customer segment selected and the training of the interviewer. Usually, participants were paid for their time in this process as well, with fees ranging from $25 to $50. A market research firm might schedule four or five interviews daily per available interviewer. Interviewer reports were largely relied upon for interpreting the data. In addition, for sensitive topics, professional psychologists often added depth to the interpretation.



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