The Role of the Proctor

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4bXW7k7rFY

The video link is a clip from the popular show Mad Men. In the video, the advertising agency that the show revolves around is conducting a focus group. The focus group in meant to gain research and insight about a women's beauty product. What is interesting and noteworthy about the video and focus group shown is how they portray the group proctor.

The woman in the video changes her style of clothing, and decides to act a certain way in order to keep the women participants at ease and comfortable with the study. When the actual questioning was occurring, she kept the conversation flowing, and kept reassuring the women that they were in a safe place and could be themselves and be honest.

The proctor is a key asset to the success of a focus group, and thus the success of the study. Focus groups are meant to capture the opinions that consumers think are important. These opinions and data can only be collected if the participants are willing to open up and share how they are feeling. They need to answer the questions being asked. In order to do that, the questions asked need to be in a manner that makes them worthy to be answered.

A focus group can go very wrong if the procurator does not know what they are doing. The way questions are asked, the wording, the tone, the timing, all affect the answers. It is the job of the proctor to make sure all of those categories are presented accurately.

The video was impressive, as the proctor was able to identify with the participants and able to get them to feel worthy of being there. She got them to open up and really share their thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, she got them to be honest. Honesty is the root and goal of what focus groups are aiming to achieve. Honest opinions can lead to honest results and research. Companies and strategists are then capable of using the gathered information and ensure that their studies are going to be reliable and valid for whatever their conclusive goal in mind is.

Although the video was scripted, the concept is still true. The Mad Men actress is an ideal model of what a focus group proctor should be.

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This page contains a single entry by whit1533 published on December 2, 2012 12:53 PM.

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