The Mind Reader
You’re sitting in the back room, listening raptly to a respondent dancing around the edge of an issue at the heart of your research. Desperate to hear more, you lean in toward the one-way mirror and, in an attempt to communicate telepathically with your moderator, say aloud, “But why do you feel that way?”
Not a moment later, your moderator says to the respondent, “And why do you feel that way?”
“YES!” you say triumphantly.
For clients working with good moderators, scenarios like this happen with some frequency. ‘Can she really read my mind?’ you may find yourself wondering about the woman in the front room.
The answer is yes — if you’ve all done your homework.
Thorough preparation for fieldwork — analyzing the screener, reviewing the discussion guide, and arriving at the facility early enough to run it all down again — ensures that client and moderator are of one mind when the first group steps into the front room. Though she maintains a respectful distance from what you expect to learn from the study, your moderator has your objectives running on continuous loop in the back of her mind.
This means that, with you as her partner throughout the process, she can get you the answers you want, when you want them — even without ESP.
Special thanks to Lisa Strandberg for her contribution to this post.