Online Focus Groups

Conduct Focus Groups Online with Change Research

Change Research Has Brought Innovation, Accessibility, and Affordability to Focus Groups, All Conducted over Zoom

What are focus groups and why conduct them?

Focus groups are a form of interactive qualitative research that allows you to listen to a key group of voters having a guided group discussion about important issues. We can listen to what they say, but also how they say it – their intensity, tone, and language – and critically, what they don’t say or don’t understand.

They can be essential in uncovering issues and for developing messages, characterizations of the interested parties, and slogans to be tested in our quantitative research. Focus groups are also an important way to listen deeply to small subgroups that are of particular important and/or underrepresented or excluded from most surveys.

Why conduct focus groups online?

Change Research conducts focus groups via Zoom, which is the best way to replicate the in-person focus group experience virtually. Our online approach to focus groups is safer and more accessible for participants, allows us to recruit from broader geography than the immediate area surrounding a given focus group facility, and is more affordable for our clients. Recorded facetime of each participant in the comfort of their own home allows us to more closely monitor the reactions of voters to content and the contributions of each participant.

What makes Change Research’s focus group process unique?

Change Research uses our online polling approach to recruit focus group participants. This allows us to successfully recruit focus groups with narrow audiences where other traditional recruiters may fall short.

The Process

Experienced, Change Research pollsters will work with you to define the parameters for your focus group project, ensuring each group is both feasible and has the right mix of people to produce a lively and thoughtful conversation that begins to answer your research questions. Change Research recommends conducting at least two groups and suggests separating groups by gender and/or ethnicity when possible. Change uses our polling tools to execute our recruit, and aims to recruit 12 participants per group in order to seat 8. We typically begin recruitment at least two weeks before the focus groups are scheduled to occur, during which, in collaboration with you, our pollsters will draft and refine a focus group guide.

Change Research will also provide focus group moderation, and we are committed to ensuring our focus groups are moderated by trained moderators that match the race/ethnicity of the participants.

On the evening of the focus groups, representatives from your organizations will be given an observers’ link to the groups and will be able to watch the groups as they take place. If you are unable to join in real-time, a link to download the recording of each group will be available after each session.


When focus groups are complete, Change Research analysts will prepare and deliver:

  • A report detailing the recruit and the responses to written exercises and polls for each participant.
  • A digital video recording of each focus group for future viewing.
  • A detailed report about, and analysis of, the groups’ notable and actionable findings.
  • Optionally, for an additional fee, Change Research can prepare a video of the most illuminating and powerful moments from the focus groups, interspersed with key findings and takeaways.

Affordable and Impactful

Change Research has conducted focus groups for campaigns, Independent Expenditure PACs, issue advocacy organizations, and more, across the country, including…

Rep. Lauren Underwood

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) won reelection in 2020 with the help of Change Research. Afterward, Team Underwood wanted to listen to self-identified persuadable voters who did not support her in 2020 in order to understand what held them back from supporting her that year and their expectations for the new Congress and a second year of the pandemic. Conducted shortly after the Jan. 6 insurrection, the findings reflected the bleak mood voters held toward the country’s divisions, and voters expressed concerns about the vaccine rollout and the recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19. A strong negative personal characterization of the congresswoman did not come through, but voters expressed general concerns about the Democratic Party’s approach to policing and the economy.

Unite the Country PAC

Unite The Country (UTC) asked Change Research to conduct focus groups in April 2021 to understand how voters were reacting to the first 100 days of the Biden presidency. Change Research conducted six focus groups with key turnout and persuasion audiences in the critical battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The groups revealed voters were satisfied with Biden’s handling of vaccines, and relieved by the reopening of the economy, but there was still a considerable amount of anxiety about the future. Many of the findings soon became the new conventional wisdom in polling, from the souring of many Biden voters to the stalled legislative agenda to the concerns about inflation. Change Research provided a custom highlight video for UTC’s top donors and provided recommendations to inform UTC’s paid communications. The findings were featured on The Hill, Pod Save America, and other outlets.

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