There’s a piece of paper that I have kept with me since my first job. In my early years as a researcher, it was perhaps the most useful piece of paper I had – my list of ‘what to take’ when traveling for focus groups.
Looking at it now, some parts are a little out of date (2 audio tapes for each group for example!), and some reveal my Queensland origins (Who knew we’re the only state to call them Nikko pens!), but by golly, it is still a useful list – so I’m posting it here for you to have…
- Audio tapes – 2 for each group
- Tape recorder – take two if possible
- Digital recorder, microphone if you have one
- Multiple copies of the discussion guide (particularly if there are clients)
- Any stimulus material (e.g. videos, DVD’s/ USB stick, story boards, product – was there anything else??)
- Self-completion questionnaires
- Respondent Participant Incentive
- Sign in sheets
- Petty cash / cab charges / credit card
- Nikko Permanent marker pens
- Name tags
- Job file / paperwork (e.g. the proposal, and briefing material)
- The group specs / the recruitment screener
- Any confirmations you have of room hire / AV arrangements (anything else you’ve organised for the group) – with names and contact details
- Batteries for the digital recorder.
Things you might like to add to your own list…
- Video camera / microphone / tripod
- Pencil case containing glue, coloured pencils, felt pens, and pastels (these are great for drawing tasks, and the scan really well)
- Separate pencil-case with scissors (are you going through airport security – can you take them?)
- Art block – I like to take an A3 art block with me, so I know that there is paper for any art tasks, and I know that paper fits in my portfolio bag
- A4 plain paper – it always comes in handy
- A portfolio bag to bring it all home in (means you don’t have to fold collages, homework tasks etc)
- Digital Camera – to capture any homework tasks / collages / other group outputs before they are folded or destroyed.
Now there’s nothing revolutionary here, but I find it is handy to make the list, pin it up somewhere by your desk and run your eyes over it before you head out for a group. Means you are never caught without that ‘one thing you need’!
What’s on your list?