Our Physical Research Facilities
Our marketing research facilities are strategically located throughout the Metropolitan Bay Area (San Francisco, Sunnyvale / San Jose, Fremont) as well as in the heart of California’s Central Valley (Fresno) — offering a variety of settings to match your market needs.
Please scroll down for information about enhanced in-person research standards during COVID-19.
Whether you are looking for consumers, B2B, or medical respondents of a major metropolitan area, or those of a suburban or rural environment, Nichols Research can accommodate you with any methodological research requiring a physical location.
In addition to our four market-specific locations, our remote market services and national recruitment and field management offer a great diversity of ethnic and industry segments to fit the scope of any research project.
ENHANCED IN-PERSON RESEARCH STANDARDS DURING COVID-19
In-Person Qualitative Research (California)
Nichols Research (NR) has implemented numerous elevated facility standards, to ensure the safest and most comfortable environment possible during these unprecedented times.
Our priorities and obligations are for:
- The safety and health of our staff, respondents, clients, and all visitors.
- The reduction of transmission among employees and visitors.
- Strategies that identify and allow implementation of changed operations.
- Heartfelt gratitude to and support of all essential workers.
- Appreciation for the flexibility of our staff, respondents, clients, and all visitors while navigating changing expectations and guidelines as a team.
Please remember that these guidelines will be subject to change and adaptation as public health information and needs shift. We work in the real world, where risk can only be mitigated, not eliminated.
ELEVATED FACILITY STANDARDS
Research rooms, reception areas, and offices have all been reconfigured to ensure the optimal spacing possible for physical distancing. When needed, areas other than reception areas will be used as waiting rooms.
Signs are posted strategically throughout all areas of our facilities to remind staff and members of the public of important Coronavirus risk-reducing behavior (e.g., frequent hand washing, mask wearing, protecting as much as possible the projection of sneezes/coughs, etc.).
Health and wellness screening questions are asked during the recruitment process for in-facility/in person studies, and again on the day of research (via a waiver) prior to a respondent participating. Clients are also required to agree to and sign the same waiver as respondents. Any client or observer who has come into contact with someone who is known to have tested positive for COVID or is otherwise considered to be a potential health risk to others, is required to monitor the research online and not visit the office.
Generally, respondents participating in onsite/in-person research studies must be fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC, and willing/able to provide proof. Exceptions might include, one-on-one interviews, self-administered in-person surveys where no other respondents are present, studies specifically designed to speak with non-vaccinated people, etc.
Wherever it is safe and possible, we will frequently open windows to allow ventilation. Further, all our air conditioning units have been examined by a certified expert. This includes timely and regular replacement of filters and increased fresh air intake to minimize air re-circulation, fresh air intakes on all AC units are set to provide ventilation, increased outside air intake to further dilute any contaminants in the building whenever possible, central AC units operating on “constant ventilation” mode, allowing enough time for proper ventilation before occupants arrive and after they leave, fitting of MERV 13 filters (replaced quarterly), and all units having factory-made filter racks to eliminate the possibility of filter bypass. Additionally all AC units have been fitted with a GPS ionization system to clean the air flow by reducing airborne particles, odors and pathogens in the airflow.
Acrylic sneeze guards are available for use during in-depth interviews, etc.
Respondent food will only be considered for participants who will be in the facility in a group setting (3 or more respondents) and at what we consider regular mealtimes (i.e. breakfast, lunch, or dinner). Food for respondents will include specific limitations such as individually wrapped sandwiches served by onsite staff, etc. Risk assessments will dictate which options are chosen on a study-by-study basis.
General food guidelines: NR encourages clients and respondents to bring their own water bottles but will provide upon request. Communal snack bowls/dishes have been removed from facility reception areas and client lounges. Studies where clients will be served any meal will be risk-assessed. Depending on the number of observers, it is possible that client food will be served as delivered, in individual packages and no re-plating.
CLEANING AND HYGIENE
All facilities have an electrostatic hand-held EPA disinfecting sprayer for disinfectant cleaning of used rooms at the end of every day.
Each room and its high touch areas (doorknobs, chairs, tables, etc.) is cleaned with wipes or other disinfectant methods between research sessions. To assist us with these and other enhanced facility standards, we require a minimum allotment of 30 minutes (preferably 45 minutes) between research sessions to allow time for sanitation. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
All areas of our facilities are well stocked with hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfectant wipes.
Magazines and all other paper pamphlets/materials have been removed from our reception areas.
FACE MASKS AND FACE SHIELDS
We require that you arrive wearing either an N95 or KN95 mask. If you do not have one or arrive wearing a disposable or cloth face mask that loops behind your ears or around your head, we will provide you with a N95/KN95. If it is evident that a face mask is damaged or otherwise ineffective, we will require you to use an N95 or KN95 mask provided by NR. Please note that bandanas and gaiters are not considered adequate “face masks” for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and are not acceptable forms of face coverings to arrive wearing.
Respondents entering the research room may be provided with a disinfected face shield to use during the research in place of a face mask (see picture below). Before exiting the research, respondents will need to switch back to wearing an N95/KN95 mask. There will be a collection container for face shield drop-off outside the room. Please discuss with your research director early on what your preference is (i.e., face masks or face shields during the research).
Overview of Guidelines:
- Prior to entering any NR location, all visitors and staff must be wearing a mask as described above.
- Staff are always required to wear N95/KN95 masks while indoors except when eating or drinking. They are also required to wear gloves when handling food or conducting touchless temperature taking (when applicable).
- Likewise, all clients and respondents are always required to wear a face mask as described above. As a workaround to N95/KN95 traditional face masks where expressions cannot be observed, we provide (and all respondents must agree to wearing) face shields such as the one pictured below for use during smaller research sessions.
- Clients visiting any NR facility must be fully vaccinated.
- Respondents for studies greater than individual interviews must be fully vaccinated.
RESPONDENTS AND STAFF
Signage is visible on entry doors and throughout the facility as reminders of how to stay safe and reduce health risk. NR staff has all completed a 2+ hour training on the State, County, and CDC guidelines, as well as our Risk Assessment and Infectious Disease Plan.
Our staff will be permitted onsite at our facilities only if they have no reason to believe they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID and if they are not exhibiting signs of illness. If an employee displays even the most minor Coronavirus symptom, they must stay home or will be required to go home (if symptoms present while they are working in-person). Team members who are not required onsite for research studies will continue to work from home.
New sign-in and check-out procedures to maximize safety have been implemented.
Upon arrival at any NR research facility, respondents must sign a release of liability. Respondents will be informed about and will have agreed to do so during recruitment.
We kindly request cooperation from our clients with the following:
- Please review our Research Occupancy Guidelines (see below) and discuss with your research director at the time of study confirmation.
- Where respondents visiting our facilities have not been recruited by NR, the client will be asked to ensure these respondents have been pre-screened for COVID risk during outside recruitment and have been informed of our policy for signing a release of liability onsite, possibly answering health re-screening questions, etc.
- Clients are also responsible for communicating NR/State/County guidelines and policies to their clients.
- As often as possible, only one client to visit the front desk at a time, and always wearing an N95/KN95 mask if doing so.
- Speak with your research director about the need for over-recruiting and/or additional honorariums due to the requirement for all respondents to be fully vaccinated and because of the fast spread of the omicron variant.
- If a project must be rescheduled, cancelled, or moved to another market due to an unexpected State or other mandatory re-closure, facility fees will be waived—only recruiting to date will be charged. Additionally, in this case, we can also move the research to our OnlineQual platform and have experienced moderators on staff to help if needed.
Our team is here to help and consult with you in the planning and execution of your research. Please speak with your research director or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding NR’s safety processes during this new way of conducting important in-person research.
Research Occupancy Guideline
Depending on the configuration and market (Sunnyvale/San Jose, San Francisco, Fremont, or Fresno), groups will generally be limited to the following number of respondents/observers by location, but does not consider special setups such as living room, breakout sessions, closed circuit observation for breakout sessions, etc.:
- Large research space (two rooms with airwall open), theater style = 40 respondents + moderator (and podium/AV side table/technician space, if needed).
- Four research spaces/rooms, conference style = 1-10 respondents + moderator.
- Large research space (two rooms with airwall open), theater style = 30 respondents + moderator (and podium/AV side table/technician space, if needed.
- Two research spaces/rooms, conference style = 1-10 respondents + moderator.
- One research space/room, conference style = 1-8 respondents + moderator.
- One research space/room, conference style = 1-8 respondents + moderator.
- One research space/room, conference style = 1-10 respondents + moderator.