Focus groups     |     In-depth Interviews

Bryan Hooker -- Moderator

Essentials of Good Moderating:
Qualitative research in general, and focus groups in particular, can be the most cost-effective and time-efficient means of gaining invaluable understanding of customers' values, motivations, and thought processes.

The most important factor determining the degree of success of a qualitative research project is, of course, the moderator.

To be effective, a moderator must:

  • Know the general field under discussion, including products, practices, and terminology. Bryan Hooker has extensive, wide-ranging experience in medical/pharmaceutical subjects, which gives him the general background needed for intelligent discussion of most medical topics. He also utilizes textbook, internet, and personal resources to supplement this knowledge in any area with which he is less familiar.
  • Fully understand the topics being discussed and the client's objectives. Bryan Hooker works closely with clients to ensure that he thoroughly understands the subject to be discussed and the issues needing to be explored. With such preparation, he uses a two-page outline-style discussion guide, rather than a lengthy list of detailed questions (which would be an impediment), because he understands the essence of what needs to be learned; he knows what questions need to be asked, when questions have been sufficiently addressed, when they need more explanation, and when they raise new questions. This also means that clients generally need to use his earpiece only for general guidance, if at all.
  • Skillfully manage interpersonal / group processes with effective methods, and with a professional yet congenial style. As an extensively experienced moderator, Bryan Hooker has a repertoire of both non-verbal and verbal techniques which enable him to guide the discussion smoothly, so that it flows naturally and still explores all of the desired areas of inquiry. He has a pleasant, sympathetic style which puts respondents at ease so they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. In focus groups, he encourages participation, reaction and interaction to generate effective group dynamics, and utilizes various control techniques, as needed, to avoid undesirable behavior.
  • Elicit meaningful, relevant, and enlightening comments through astute questioning and follow-up, and with other exploratory techniques. Most topics lend themselves to straightforward discussion, and Bryan Hooker has developed an instinct for asking the right questions, at the right time, in the right way. He also has experience in the use of projective techniques, such as association, sentence completion, forced relationships, analogy, and anthropomorphization, and probing techniques such as conceptual mapping, pinboarding, laddering, and attitudinal scaling.
  • Maintain objectivity. Many moderators -- especially new moderators and client-moderators -- bias their discussions, often without being aware that they are doing so. Bryan Hooker generally maintains a professional objectivity and avoids using leading questions or non-verbal signals that might steer respondents in a particular way. When he does adopt an opinion, he does so deliberately, to test the opinion itself.
  • Guide the discussion through the desired topics within time constraints. Bryan Hooker helps clients prioritize issues and plan the appropriate amount of material to fit the time allowed. He then guides the discussion in such a way that it flows naturally yet covers the planned material and addresses the project objectives. He also allows for time to discuss unanticipated issues and opportunities.
  • Clearly communicate the findings back to the client. Bryan Hooker provides concise summary reports and/or presentations as desired by the client, with insightful interpretation and analysis which addresses project objectives. For in-depth interviews, he also offers an organized, detailed spreadsheet showing all respondents' comments on each question.

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