A moderator tries to blend in with the crowd without standing out. A moderator will absolutely not say anything judgmental or speak out his/her opinion and will instead participate as a quiet participant. A moderator has the responsibility to monitor the conversation around a theme while blending into the. Contradictory to the first role, a moderator must take a firm stance from time to time.
Furthermore, it’s important for a moderator to watch the whole group from a bird’s eye view. The analysis will start from within the group, and the moderators will control the group while building a hypothesis from scratch.
Choosing a moderator that understands the purpose of the research and ‘finds out’ rather than asking for more information, is the way to success.
The role of the moderator in group interviews is as mentioned above. However, these are not the only responsibilities of the moderator. The role of the moderator will become clearer after thinking about the skills and talent required for moderation.
Group interviews are a market research method. A good set of skills and knowledge are required for moderation. Particularly, knowledge about consumer behavior is essential.
People tend to decide what they like and dislike based on first impressions. Since a moderator is also a human being, it is natural to have preferences. Therefore, we ask from our moderators to control their bias and to treat everyone equally from a neutral point of view.
It is impossible to moderate without having any assumptions and it’s also inefficient. A moderator will go through the interview with a lot of hypotheses, trying to either verify the hypotheses based on the reactions of the participants or disregard and think of new ones on the spot. A moderator does not stick to one hypothesis, but has the creativity to come up with new ones.
The analytic skills of moderators are different from data analyses. There are no spreadsheets in group interviews. The only data they have are audio and video recordings. They will try to create an assumption around the participant’s background to understand the meaning behind the participant’s answers and create a marketing story from there on.
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