A group of people talking, taking part in market research.

Taking part in market research: how to find the best methodology for you 

Taking part in paid market research offers an excellent opportunity to earn extra income from the comfort of your home, while also providing a way to meet like-minded people and make a difference to products and services.  

However, selecting the right market research methodology can be challenging. If you lead a busy life, you might seek flexibility in your schedule, or if you live rurally it may not be feasible for you to do market research in a major city like London.  

In this blog, we’ll explore various market research methodologies, from focus groups to shop-alongs, and help you decide which may be the best option for you.  

Five ways to take part in market research 

Focus groups 

Most people have heard of focus groups, but may not be entirely sure what they involve. A small group of people – usually between 4 and 10 – are gathered together with a facilitator to participate in a discussion related to a product, service, belief, concept or prospective policy. Focus groups enable participants to provide spontaneous, firsthand reactions and express honest opinions. 

In-person: Why is this a good method for me? 

If you enjoy meeting new people and participating in in-depth discussions, a focus group is perfect. Clients often seek out people who are sociable, open-minded and chatty to take part, and the dynamic is typically very stimulating and fun.  

Focus groups usually meet for 1-2 hours – however, with in-person focus groups, you may need to consider the additional travel time and cost, as travel costs aren’t always reimbursed. You may also need to think about any childcare or work commitments too. 

Remote: Why is this a good method for me? 

With the interactive perks of an in-person focus group, but from the comfort of your own home, remote focus groups are a great way to share your opinions with like-minded individuals, typically via a group video call.  

Despite being smaller than in-person groups, remote focus groups often require the same time commitment. However, they don’t involve travel, which is perfect if you can’t commit extra time to travel or live in a rural area. They also offer greater accessibility, especially for those facing mobility challenges. If you’re tech-savvy and have a laptop or computer with a video camera, remote focus groups could be a great option for you!  

Market research online communities 

The popularity of online research communities has boomed in recent years. They consist of a closed network of participants who take part in conversations and exercises similar to traditional focus groups, but done remotely, typically using a secure online platform. Exercises that you might be asked to take part in could include: 

  • Video diaries 
  • Blogging 
  • Discussions  
  • Uploading pictures 

Why is this a good method for me? 

Online communities are great for people who have busy lifestyles and are looking for a more flexible market research methodology; for instance, those with childcare responsibilities or varying work patterns.  

You’re often asked to complete activities daily but these can be done any time of day based on your routine. They usually last longer than other types of research, anywhere from one week to one year, but are often more flexible, not always requiring a laptop, and can be completed on-the-go. 

In-home interviews 

In-home market research interviews involve researchers visiting participants’ homes to conduct interviews, surveys, or product tests. Sometimes referred to as ‘ethnography’, it can allow researchers an insight into an individual’s living space to see how products are used in real life environments, for instance; seeing how someone might watch TV, eat their breakfast, or spend their time with their family.  

It is very valuable for market researchers to be able to talk directly to subjects about their experiences in the moment, which often gathers information that may have been forgotten if they spoke at a later date. 

Why is this a good method for me? 

Once again, this is great for people who would prefer not to travel for research, or would find it easier to take part in research at home due to mobility issues or childcare commitments. However, if you’re in a shared living situation or limited on space, it may be tricky for a researcher to set up any equipment they need without disturbing others.  

A researcher may ask to visit on more than one occasion and spend a significant amount of time with you. As a participant, you can make a real and valuable difference to a brand or service that is important to you. 

Shop-alongs 

Sometimes referred to as “assisted shops” or “accompanied shops”, this methodology is perfect for keen shoppers looking to share their thoughts on brands, products, and the shopping experience overall.  

Essentially, a shop-along is a way for brands to find out why people shop the way they do. It involves a researcher joining you on a shopping trip to witness your shopping habits first hand, and observe what you do and the decisions you make, but without interfering. 

Why is this a good method for me? 

This methodology is ideal for individuals who are passionate about the shopping experience and eager to share their opinions. Sometimes a researcher will ask for 1-2 of your friends to join, so it can be a very sociable environment and is best suited to anyone who is chatty and confident.  Though if you don’t often shop in-store, or are quite private in your decision-making process, this one may not be for you. 

User experience testing 

User experience testing, or UX testing, evaluates how users interact with a product, website or application. It involves observing users as they navigate through tasks or scenarios, providing insights into how they experience the design and functionality. UX testing aims to identify any usability issues, understand user preferences, and ultimately improve the overall user experience of certain products.  

Why is this a good method for me?  

User experience testing is particularly beneficial for individuals who want to ensure that products or services meet their needs and preferences. It’s great for adventurous types who want to be ahead of the curve – and as there are usually a few more tech requirements for this type of research, we recommend that you’re tech-confident and able to do things such as share your screen on different devices. 

Ready to take part in market research? 

Here at Angelfish Opinions, we’re always looking for people interested in giving their thoughts on products and services. If any of these market research methodologies sound perfect for you, then sign up to our community to be the first to know about new opportunities! With projects ranging from toothpaste to toy testing, there’s something to suit everyone – get involved today and make your opinion count!