District Level Decision-Maker Focus Groups | Using Research to Support New Curriculum

Curriculum revision is difficult, yet necessary. Especially with the rise of EdTech products district and higher education decision-makers are constantly challenged in achieving successful curriculum reforms.

In order to truly understand the processes and principles of the changing paradigms in the education sector, distributors of EdTech programs or products must speak with school decision-makers. This audience is responsible for influence purchasing decisions or changes in curriculum materials.

A great way to start this conversation and receive answers from this vital audience is with focus groups – either in-person or online. This type of qualitative study will allow feedback from multiple sources all at once.

District Level Decision-Maker Focus Groups | Using Research to Support New Curriculum

Our education research company recruited education decision-makers to participate in an online focus group. Learn more about the objectives of this study and our approach to qualitative recruitment.

Objectives of Education Focus Groups

An EdTech research company contacted Drive Research regarding an upcoming qualitative study. Our client would be conducting online focus groups in order to understand and sustain their visions for teaching and learning with technology.

The EdTech research company relied on our market research company to recruit district-level decision markers to partake in the online focus groups.

Targeting criteria for the focus groups included:

  • A mix of titles such as Superintendent, Elementary/Middle School Principal, Elementary/Middle School Assistant Principal, Wellness Coordinator, Superintendent, and Instructional Specialist
  • Must be a district-level decision-maker who make or influence purchasing decisions about EdTech products or curriculum materials
  • Participants from major cities who are interested or familiar with a certain exercise
  • No prior experience or interest in a program promoting the exercise

Approach to Recruiting District-Level Decision Makers

Our education market research company specializes in qualitative recruiting for various studies such as focus groups, in-depth interviews (IDIs), and more. Often times, Drive Research recommends overrecruiting for qualitative research to combat last-minute cancellations by participants.

Being that this online focus group included district-level decision-makers, last-minute cancellations were expected. It is common for meetings and events to override prior commitments such as a paid research study.

For this particular qualitative recruitment project, Drive Research planned to recruit 8 participants in order to seat 6 to 8 for each focus group. To increase participation and lower recruitment costs for the client, we promised school decision-makers earning a $150 stipend as a thank you for their feedback and attendance of the online focus group.

What recruitment methods were used to find school district-level decision-makers?

What is the qualitative recruitment process for education participants?

Our qualitative recruitment company follows a trusted and streamlined process when finding people to participate in market research. Drive Research develops an online survey of questions to pre-screen the audience found through the various recruitment methods referenced above.

For this study, potential participants had to qualify by answering questions that would verify criteria such as:

  • If they worked in a school or school district
  • Their title at the school district
  • What grades they worked with
  • Their role with educational technology product or curriculum materials

Dependent on their answers, qualified participants were called by the recruitment team at Drive Research. This phone conversation acts as another level of screening participants to verify they would be the right fit for this study.

If selected for the online focus groups, school decision-makers received an email invitation, a reminder phone call confirming they would still be able to participate, and a reminder text sent 24-48 hours prior to the focus groups.

District Level Decision-Maker Online Focus Groups

A total of 2 online focus groups took place on the night of Tuesday, February 4th and the night of Wednesday, February 5th.

Online focus groups require different measurements than an in-person focus group in order to be successful. School decision-makers were required to use a meeting ID to sign-in to the focus group.

Participants were also required to be on a device (desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet) with a webcam. If participants were using a smartphone or tablet, they were required to download an app.

No account registration was required, but participants were asked to test the software before the group and have a quiet/private space available for the full 90-minutes for the focus group.

These instructions for participating in the online focus group were referenced in the recruitment call and sent via email prior to the night of the study.

The client was pleased to see a full show rate of 16 qualified participants (between both nights) for the district-level decision-maker online focus groups.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Upstate, NY. Our team has the capabilities of assisting online, or in-person focus group projects. From qualitative recruitment to hosting groups at our focus group facility - you can rely on us for end-to-end project management. 

Reach out through any of the four ways below.


  1. Message us on our website
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