Critically Evaluate the Relative Strengths and Weakness of Friendship Pairs as a Market Research Technique Essay

This essay will show the use of friendship pairs in interviews for marketing research. In the beginning of each research it has to be clarified what kind of research ahs to be done. So first it has to be analized what kind of data would be of interest. Data of a wide range of respondents would be collected by questionnaire, which is shorter in time and could be easier analysed. If the topic is more complex, it could be of interest to have more detailed data. Therefor a focus group discussion could be helpful.

Normally there are six up to eight respondents in one group with one interviewer. What makes a focus group interest is the fact that the respondents are not always in direct contact to the interviewer. They will start talking to each other more then in one to one with the interviewer. This is very important, because of the information the interviewer will receive. If people starting to talk with each other, we can have more and deeper information about a topic then in direct single questions. Under special circumstances it could be important to talk only with a very small group of people.

Especially if we are thinking about more delicate topics, or a topic were it is not so easy for people to talk about. As an example the first sex contact or first used of hard drugs. To make people more relaxed to an interview, it shows that friendship pairs are a very good option to put people in a more relaxing mood. For this friendship pair interviews the selection of the right pairs is important. Sometimes even threesomes will be used (Highet, 2003). To get good and trustful data material it will be important to have the right personalities in one interview together.

If one is dominating, it could be that the other one is only following and not telling its own opinion any more. The main difference between an interview and group discussion will be , that the communication is between interviewer and respondents, rather than between respondents themselves. Using a friendship pair interview it will be a combination of group and single interview. The participants have the possibility to talk with each other and can also talk with the interviewer more direct then in a group.

Planning the interviews with friendship pairs has to follow the same structure as preparing single or triple interviews. Following a structured plan, after the idea for friendship pairs is made, the topic who will be part of the interviews has to be talked through. Followed by the style of the interview. They can be depth interviews, which are a matter of degree, or they can have a more journalistic style. If we have a more journalistic one, “ they will accept what people say at face value, they are descriptive and seek basic information from respondents.

Genuine depth interviews go beyond the face value, looking for patterns and frameworks. Interpreting the meanings and implications of what was said” (Highet, 2003). Friendship pair interviews are often chosen if younger persons are in the focus of inters. Sometimes they will used if the topic is not so easy to handle, if it is important to give the participants a more relaxing atmosphere. Paired interviews can have many practical advantages. First it is more informal. It offers younger people a “good fit with informal setting” (Highet, 2003).

Young people will be more happy to be part of the interview and will follow more dynamic with more enthusiasm are more clam if they will talked to participate together with a friend. This will go cross all ages, social status and gender. Also the recruitment will be easier under youngsters if they know that joining together with a good or best friend is possible. “ They are more visibly relaxed and became more enthusiastic” (Highet, 2003). If young participants are more comfortable, also knowing each other and could see some kind of little control of the interview, will work closer together with the interviewer.

The partnership between interviewer and participants will be more balanced. As a result finally the quality of data can be better. The highest challenge will be to put the participants together with the right interviewer. The result of an interview can be finally end in a kind of disaster, if the interviewer will not be trusted by the friendship pair. The data quality can be zero. It will be important for the interviewer to build a bridge to the pair. As an example can be seen the study of MY, where young people were asked about their cannabis consume.

A very sensitive topic. So to get quality data, it was a strong goal to be trusted by the young people. Pair interviews will transfer a huge amount of daily life style data. The same as what can be seen in focus group discussions. As Highest mentioned in his study “… one key feature which seems to differentiate paired interviews from focus groups is their potential for offering glimpses into more personal territory, in particular the private emotional world of young men”. This study was about the consumption of cannabis.

Very interesting because as a result of “other studies have reported no differences between focus groups nor one to one interviews” (Highet, 2003), especially in lower social status groups of men. As mentioned earlier, a key factor of receiving high quality of data its to be trusted by the young people. They have to have the feeling being at a save place during the interview. A problem can be, if one of the friends is dominating so strong that the other is only following. The interviewer has to be quite sensitive to reduce the dominance of one and to catch the quitter one.

The researcher has to safeguard the wellbeing of both participants. However, it will give the chance of receiving high quality data, getting deeper into the private life. Friendship pare interviews are also used if the participants have to be very young. If children will be need for a study, it can be very helpfully to give them a more relaxing atmosphere and to entrees their self esteem. Young children are often shy or not capable to speech to a researcher direct. The children can talk to each other rather then talking to the interviewer (Jones, Mannino, & Green, 2010). The paired interview format allowed for frequent and sustained dialogue between participants, a process possible in larger groups but likely to be much more dispersed and fragmented” (Jones, Mannino, & Green, 2010). To see how young people can understand concepts emerged regular in the interviews. A paired interview will give the chance to participants to get the challenge of “responding to questions outside their usual frame of understanding”. Paired interviews can offer a fresh approach to the difficult enterprise of accessing and accurately representing aspects of young people.

As a conclusion we can see the following. There are huge positive effects if friendship pairs will be used for depth interviews. Participants start talking very soon because they are in a relaxing atmosphere. People who are more shy or with a lower self esteem will be more relaxed because they are not alone, they can trust of the help by the friend. What could be seen, that younger persons will forget that they are sitting together for an interview. Young children will talk more to each other rather then to the interviewer. It will be more a kind of childish game the academic research for the kids.

Also If more problematic topics has to be discuss, for example the use of light or strong drugs. The younger people will open themselves a little more if they are in a relaxing friendship pair group of two or three. But very important to have the right personalities together. Here it could be problem with the quality of the data material. It will be very easy, that one of the friends will follow the other, with not telling what is important to him or her. Young persons are like to follow friends which opinion seems to be cool. It’s easy to follow. This could be a negative effect on the data material quality.

Also friend pair interviews are very time intensive and pricy. Not only that it will take time to get a group of participants together, also the collection and the analyze of the data will take time. Friendship pair’s interviews are a tool for research, which could be used if the collection of data is not possible in focus groups. Or if it will be interesting to get very deep information for a topes by respondents. On my opinion it will be used only if other research technics are not helpful, but because of the complexity it will not be used as a first choice.