Case Study: Focus Groups for a Non-Profit Policy Research Organization

Drive Research once again partnered with the a non-profit policy organization to conduct focus groups in several cities across the country. The previous project focused on benefits and improvements to an education program offered in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Guilford County, North Carolina. This more recent project focused on a different set of objectives.

The client institution is a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.

Case Study: Focus Groups for a Non-Profit Policy Research Organization


The client hired Drive Research to conduct a focus group market research project. The study examined employment and wages for less skilled workers. The objectives included understanding why employment and wages have stagnated or declined in recent decades and to help the client better understand how this is affecting people and what can be done to offer a solution. The market research was combined with other research from the sponsoring author's book and elsewhere in a short report to be released in late summer or early fall.


To address the objectives at-hand, Drive Research will utilize the client’s requested approach of qualitative focus groups. Drive Research utilized an online recruitment survey to find targeted participants for the survey. This process worked extremely well for prior focus groups in January 2018 for the education program and produced a near 100% participation rate.

The qualitative market research was focused in 3 locations: (1) Syracuse, NY, (2) Greensboro, NC, and (3) St. Louis, MO. The target audience was those aged 25 to 64 who do not have a BA degree and made less than $70,000.

Fieldwork for the online recruitment survey began on March 16 and lasted until April 19, 2018. The recruitment screener consisted of approximately 13 questions and took respondents 2 minutes to complete. Drive Research re-screened qualified participants via phone and sent all qualified participants a confirmation email with the designated date, time, location, and other key information about the focus group. Participants also received a reminder call 48 hours before the focus group and a reminder text the morning of the focus group.

The focus groups were held at hotel conference rooms on the evenings of Thursday, April 19 in Syracuse, Tuesday, April 24 in Greensboro, and Thursday April 26 in St. Louis. The three markets hosted 2 90-minute focus groups for a total of 6 groups. The first focus group began at 5:30 p.m. and the second began at 7:30 p.m. in each market. A total of 43 participated in the focus groups (average group size of 6 to 8). Each participant was paid $75 for completing the focus group.

To conserve costs with facility rental fees, it is recommended all focus groups were to be hosted in convenient community centers or hotel conference rooms. These locations are often less intimidating for research participants, more convenient, offer free parking, and more space. The focus groups were held at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in each market. Each focus group lasted 90 minutes.


Several deliverables were provided to the client to assist the author with next steps. The first deliverables for the author were transcripts and audio files. The transcripts offered a full recap of each of the 6 discussions. Speakers were identified with general demographics so the author could use quotes with notations like "a 35-year old electrician in Syracuse said" or "a 42-year old call center representative in Greensboro said".

Another deliverable provided to the client was a topline report summary. The report addressed several topic areas from the focus groups, recapping key findings from all of the qualitative research from the perspective of the moderators at Drive Research.

The report recapped the current job market, work ethic and morale, outsourcing, wages, training, benefits, economic status, role of government, role of business, role of churches, community organizations, role of schools, willingness to pay higher taxes, political activeness and current leaders, policies liked best, policies like least, expanded national service program, forgotten Americans, government promises, and personal responsibility.

Contact Us

Drive Research is a focus group market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team can recruit, host, and moderate focus groups across the country for your project needs. Questions about your next qualitative market research project?

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