Marketing Research Assignment - Focus Group

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University Assignment for Focus Group Setup

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Marketing Research Assignment - Focus Group

  1. 1. ASSIGNMENT 1: FOCUS GROUP TO DISCOVER PASSENGER ATTITUDES REGARDING SECURITY MEASURES AT CANADIAN AIRPORTS STUDENT NAME: FAHME STUDENT #: COURSE NAME: MARKETING RESEARCH COURSE ID: MKTG466 SUBMISSION DATE: JUNE/24/ 2013
  2. 2. 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS PURPOSE OF THE STUDY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2 DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2 DATA REQUIREMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3 RESPONDENT SELECTION, RECRUITMENT AND COMPENSATION ……………………………………………….. 3 SIZE OF THE FOCUS GROUP ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 LOCATION OF SESSIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 ROLE OF MODERATOR AND REQUIRED CHARACTERISTICS …………………………………………………………. 5 MODERATOR’S GUIDE ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7 REFERENCES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10
  3. 3. 2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The world of aviation has been dramatically transformed since the 9/11 incident, particularly in North America. The level of security and security measures at the airports has been heightened substantially to combat the threat of terrorism. Controversial new methods and technology (such as aggressive pat downs and full body imaging) has been introduced under constant scrutiny of public criticism. However, the federal agency charged with securing the Canadian air transportation system, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) rationalizes the implementation of such new technologies and aggressive security measuresthat is essential to ensure the safety of airlines and airline passengers at the airports. Hence, as commissioned by CATSA, thepurpose of this research project is to discover passengers’ perception and attitudes towards the introduction of the new security measures (such as the full body imaging and aggressive pat downs) at Canadian airports whether traveling domestic or overseas. This study also hopes to uncover if the introduction of such security measures have impacted peoples decision to fly and what bearing does these decisions have on Canadian airport traffic. DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM Problem Definition: Should CATSA commission the introduction of mandatory full body imaging and aggressive pat down searches at Canadian Airports? The enhancement of security has been highlighted by much criticism. Critics voice concerns on matters relating to privacy and effects of radiation on passengers exposed to technologies such as the full body imaging and aggressive pat downs. In light of such reproach and a millions of dollars’ worth of government airport security investments, a sense of urgency and responsibility arises in understanding: 1) How passengers feel about airport security?
  4. 4. 3 2) Whether or not full body imaging and aggressive pat down searches should be introduced? 3) Passengers attitudes towards increasing robust security measures. DATA REQUIREMENTS Through the engagement of the focus groups, the research study hopes to determine and gain insight about: 1)Passengers perception of safety and security at Canadian airports. 2) Passenger Knowledge and Attitudes about security measures at Canadian airports. 3) Effect of enhanced security measures on airport traffic. The amount of data/insights collected through the focus groups should be quantifiable enough to be a representation of the generalized consensus/attitudes of the passenger population traveling through the Canadian airports. A sample of 80 respondents will be selected for this research project and details on the number and composition of focus groups to be interviewed are discussed in the following sections. RESPONDENT SELECTION, RECRUITMENT AND COMPENSATION Ideal candidates to gather data would be a purposive sampling1 of passengers who have directly experienced the security procedures when travelling through a Canadian airport. Hence, the target population should have ideally traveled domestically and/or internationally through a Canadian airport within the last six months. The sample size of 80 respondents should be a stratified purpose sample2 of 40 men and 40 women, aged between 18 to 65. Recruiting of the participants for the focus groups can be done in two ways. One way would be hand out leaflets at the airport after the security gates at the airports, informing passengers about the research project.
  5. 5. 4 Second, the traditional way of recruiting target population for focus groups is through ads in travel magazines or on online websites such as RedFlagDeals, who advertise compensation based surveys for free to visitors browsing through the deal finding website. The sample selected to participate can be screened through preliminary selection questions based on simple questions such as age, gender, the last time used a Canadian airport to travel, traveled domestic or international, contact details (incase selected for focus group) and how was the experience through security check at the airport. These screening questions should be kept open ended, so the answers can give an idea of the respondent’s communication skills. Based on the response poll, the respondents with the desired demographics and matched criterions can be contacted for participation in the focus group, along with details of the location of the meetings, time, date and the compensation. Each participant is to be compensated with a $50 voucher that can be used at restaurants or the duty freestores inside any Canadian airport. SIZE OF THE FOCUS GROUP The 80 respondents selected will be divided into eight groups, hence, each of the eight groups comprising of 10 participants. 10 participants in a focus group are ideal because any focus group sized smalleris not likely to generate collaboration between participants and having a larger group can limit the participant’s opportunity to contribute3 . Each of the eight focus groups will be facilitated by a moderator. Of the eight focus groups, four groups will have a mixed composition of men and women, two focus groups only men and the remaining two focus groups composed only of women. The setup of men and women only focus groups will allow for participants who may be conservative to express their experience or opinions in the presence of the opposite gender a neutral setting.
  6. 6. 5 LOCATION OF SESSIONS Sessions are to be conducted at the professional office location which can facilitate focus group meetings. Because the client CATSA is of federal authority, arranging the conference in the client facility may cause intimidation within participants, which in turn may hinder the discovery of unbiased insights. A neutral setting such as the moderator’s company conference room, professional offices offered by companies such as REGUS4 (paid for by the client), or a local library with meeting rooms would provide an ideal, privateand comfortable setting. The room should be furnished with large table and comfortable chairs to house 12-15 people comfortably for the duration of the interview (usually between 60 – 90 minutes). The location should be also equipped with recording material such audio and video tapping which is to be examined by the moderator and researchers later, and the presence and purpose of the recordings of which should be disclosed to the participants.The location should public transportation accessible (such as a bus line) and with ample parking space for all traveling participants. Refreshments and snacks should also be provided to the participants. ROLE OF MODERATOR AND REQUIRED CHARACTERISTICS The ideal focus group moderator should exhibit the following roles and characteristics: The moderator must listen attentively with sensitivity and empathy. Is a quick thinker and has adequate knowledge of the topic to probe and control the flow of the meeting. Helps avoid groupthink (where one or two members of the focus group state an opinion and other members join the bandwagon)and has the expertise to engage all participants in the room into the conversation. Being aware of the group dynamics is critical to attaining maximum qualitative data in the allocated time. This includes the strategy to handle Dominant, Experts, Shy and/or Rambler participants in the meeting.5
  7. 7. 6 Is friendly, approachable, makes participants feel comfortable, maintains a positive body language and is appreciative of the participant feedback in a respectful manner. Must be genuinely interested in the conversation of the group, and make the participants opinions feel valued because the moderator interest will influence the engagement of the participants and in turn the quality of the insights realized. This will include greeting, engage in small talk, providing an overview of the meeting and handing out refreshmentsto participants helping create a relaxed atmosphere. Is neutral in his/her probing and discussions. The moderator does not incorporate or force personal views or opinions into or during the focus group meeting.When a participant expresses an insightful view, the participant should be probed to elaborate about their opinion with questions such as “Can you give us (as in the focus group) more details on the experience you have just shared with us?” Can attentively listen and take down key notes of the ongoing discussion at the same time. Prepares any questionnaire (demographic or topic related) ahead of time, presents the material to the focus group and collects the questionnaires accordingly. The Moderator must also setup and inspect all the recording equipment. The proper functioning of the equipment is critical to record the meeting for analyzing by researchers and the moderator later. A lady moderator should be assigned to the two focus groups that are to be comprised of female participant. This would facilitate a comfort level for female passengers to provide details of their experiences, such of which the female participant maybe shy to discuss in a room with male participants. Similarly the focus groups comprised of male only participants should be facilitated by a male moderator. The remaining four focus groups can be facilitated by either male or female moderator as the groups are comprised of mixed gender. MODERATOR’S GUIDE Beginning the session
  8. 8. 7 The beginning 10-15 minutes of the focus group discussion group should entail meet & greet and getting the participants comfortable. The moderator should first introduce themselves, thank the participants for their time to partake in the focus group, provide the purpose of the focus group in brief and some ground rules (such as only one person should speak at a time, everyone’s opinions are valued and that are no wrong answers, etc.)6 . The moderator should offer refreshments, announce the approximate time to undertake the meeting, followed by informing the participants if any recording material is to be used and why. This is also an ideal time for the moderator to have the participants fill in any questionnaires prepared for. Then the moderator should focus on building the group synergy by asking each participant to introduce themselves and to provide a fun fact, such as “where was the last destination you traveled to and when?” Such a question is for the participants to open themselves up and to create a pleasant and positive group environment. Main Session Once the participants are at ease and everyone has had a chance to introduce themselves, the moderator should ask the following questions to capture participant insights that will bring value to the problem defined and data required in this research project. 1) Do passengers feel secure traveling through airports and airlines? 2) Do passengers feel airport enforce satisfactory security levels for their safety? 3) Do passengers feel new technology such as the Full Body Image technology enhance the safety of passengers traveling through airports? These questions will provide an understanding of passengers experience with the airport security measures. And provide a reference point to improve upon or educate passengers about the necessity of the measures in place. These set of questions intend to discover 4) Are passengers informed about Full Body Image technology? Do they have any concerns?
  9. 9. 8 - Sub question: How did the procedure work? 5) Are passengers informed about aggressive pat downs? Do they have any concerns? These questions will identify passenger’s basic knowledge about the security measures implemented at the airports, providing the research valuable insight whether the airport traffic (passengers) need education/information about the security measures and to reinstate the intended purpose of the security measures. These questions intend to uncover passenger knowledge and attitude of the security measures in question. 6) If passengers were provided with an option of either being inspected by Full body Imaging or aggressive pat down, which alternative would they choose? A deliberate attempt to make passengers contemplate a choice between securities measures intended to be implemented at the airports. Findings could be used for forecasting future workforce requirements (if everyone choose to be pat down instead of been imaged) or educating passengers about measures. 7) Has heightened/stricter security measure affected people’s choice of traveling through airports or flying in general? 8) Would further heightened/stricter security measures affect people’s choice of traveling through airports or flying altogether? These questions intend to provide insight on the effect of heightened security on air travel and the impact of enhanced security on airport traffic. Whether tighter/stricter security measures have resulted in lower, higher or has not affected passenger volume through airports.
  10. 10. 9 Sub questions The moderator is responsible for covering all arranged questions within the time allocated. The moderator should also probe participants to explain an insight with questions such as: “Can you give the group an example?” “Can you elaborate about that a bit more?” If the moderator is unsure of what has been said, ask the participant to explain their opinion once again by probing questions such as “Help me understand what you mean”. The moderator should also acknowledge the participant by appreciating their feedback upon conclusion by statements such as “Thank you for that input!” or “That was indeed very helpful” and encourage the entire group to participate by statements such as “Does someone else have a different opinion?” or “Has someone experience that differently?” Closing the Session Once the moderator feels that the prepared questions have been addressed, the final part would be to ask the group if something has been missed or anyone has any last thoughts about the topic. Questions such as “That was very good team, have we missed something or does someone have anything else to add?” Once the final thoughts have been addressed; the moderator must thank the participants for their valuable time and input, collect any questionnaires and distribute any advertised compensation.
  11. 11. 10 REFERENCES Textbook: Essentials of Marketing Research, Second Edition 1. Textbook Chapter 4, page 85 2. Textbook Chapter 4, page 85 3. Textbook Chapter 4, page 85 4. www.regus.ca/offices 5. Tutor correspondence email 6. Textbook Chapter 4, page 86 - 88

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