From focus groups and in-depth interviews to online communities and ethnographic studies, whatever research method you choose for your healthcare market research project, they all have one thing in common: in order to be a success, they need good moderation.
Market research is a way to peer into people’s minds, but it’s often only as effective as the person moderating the process. In fact, in many ways the moderator is actually just as important as the research subject itself, with a good moderator being responsible for the smooth running of the research, from asking the right questions at the right time to gently guiding the research in the right direction.
In order to get the most out of your moderation, you need to be thoroughly organised and make sure your chosen moderator has all the information they need to be able to confidently run the session. Read on for our top tips on how to successfully organise your healthcare market research moderation…
Make sure they’re easy to reach
One of the most important things to consider is to make sure the respondent can easily reach the moderator at all times. As well as providing an email address, you should also give the respondent the moderator’s phone number, too – not only is this helpful with any out of hours questions or concerns, but it also means that if the moderator struggles to get hold of the respondent for any reason, there is always a way for the respondent to get back to them. You should always have a backup number, too. If you are giving respondents the moderator’s mobile number, make sure they have a landline number as well in case of any reception issues.
Schedule appointments in their diary
Next up, always make sure you put an outlook appointment in the moderator’s diary to ensure they know when and where the interview is being held – especially when it comes to healthcare market research when the research might be scheduled around HCPs’ shifts. It might sound like a bit of an obvious one, but by putting the date in the moderator’s diary as well as your own, you can make sure there’s absolutely no confusion surrounding dates, times and locations. You can also include a note of any important information in the appointment reminder. Some great free calendar tools to consider include:
- Free Busy
- Need To Meet
- Time Zone Ninja – this one is especially useful for scheduling meetings or interviews internationally
Include them in email correspondence
You should also be careful to include your moderator in all email correspondence so that they are always up-to-date with what’s going on and why. As well as keeping them in the loop, you should also consider sending the interview schedule across as well, both as an email attachment as well as sending the interview summary in the body of the email so that they can easily access all info as and when they need it without having to chase you for it.
Give respondents their name beforehand
An important part of successful moderation is being able to build a good rapport with respondents and encouraging them to open up and share their innermost thoughts, feelings and opinions. One way to help this process is by giving your respondents the name of the moderator before the research begins – not only will this make the respondent feel more comfortable, but it will also make the moderator seem more approachable, which is especially important when patients might feel embarrassed or shy to talk about their condition with someone they don’t know. It will also mean there will be no surprises on the day and if conducting in office interviews, the receptionist will be expecting the named individual, which will avoid delays or cancellations.
Don’t forget to share all the documents
Your moderator should fully understand every aspect of the market research study to make sure everything goes off without a hitch – especially when it comes to healthcare market research, where they will need to learn all about relevant therapy areas. By sharing the discussion guide and all the materials needed for the research beforehand, you can make sure your moderator has everything they need from the very beginning. What is the goal of the research? And how will this info be used? By sharing all the relevant information with them, you can ensure they are fully prepared and help to combat any nerves, too! Some great document sharing tools include:
Test any software ahead of time
If you are carrying out your healthcare market research project online, there are other things to consider as well. The technical aspects of running an online focus group or MROC means that the moderator will need to get familiar with the software ahead of time and it should be carefully tested to highlight any issues, too. As you would with a participant, you should provide your moderator with detailed instructions on how to use the software, as well as their login details to ensure they are confident using the software and that there aren’t any hold ups on the day.
With a little bit of organisation, you can ensure your moderation goes smoothly and that you unlock the very best insights from your participants. If you would like to find out more about our in-house moderator, Huw Davies, download his CV here: