FAQs

1. Who is Nichols Research?

We are an independent marketing research company based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central California.

2. What kind of research does Nichols Research conduct?

Many of our projects are traditional focus groups and in-person interviews. We also conduct shop-along interviews, taste tests, mock juries and many other kinds of research, particularly as the research landscape is constantly changing. Today, we assist clients with a range of consultative services and we conduct online studies, national studies, ethnographic research, and much more.

3. What is a focus group?

A focus group is a qualitative marketing research technique used when a small group of people participates in a discussion that is led by an experienced moderator. It is an opportunity to express ideas or concerns in an open forum/group. And like many locations throughout the world; what happens in a research study stays in a research study!

4. Who are research participants?

Respondents (participants) can be any member of the public who qualifies and agrees to participate in studies. Consumers, physicians, patients, caretakers, business professionals, and other special groups of all types are in demand to participate in studies where they are reimbursed with an honorarium, usually a Visa card, for their time and opinions. Articulate, committed and punctual individuals who are ready to share their opinions are the best respondents.

5. What do research participants get for qualifying and participating in the study?

• Normally participants receive a reimbursement, gift or an honorarium to offset any expenses incurred as a result of volunteering to participate.
• An opportunity to meet others in an occupational field or people who might share your personal interests.
• Active discussion about areas of concern with other individuals during the group.
• Respondents repeatedly tell us that they find our research groups to be interesting and enjoyable.
• Opinions that are heard and considered for future marketing concepts and product development.

6. When do I receive my honorarium?

Participants are paid as soon as the research project is completed (immediately at the conclusion of studies conducted at any of our facilities). For some off-site or online studies, we will notify you prior to an invitation that the incentive will be mailed to your address. This can sometimes take from two to typically a maximum of four weeks, although some studies are on-going (e.g, three-months, six-months, etc.), in which case you are usually reimbursed for your time more than once during the study.

7. How will I be reimbursed?

Forms of honorariums vary from study to study. Sometimes we provide cash or checks, but most often with Visa cards, which have a six-month expiration date. The method of payment is determined both by our client and Nichols Research.

In the distant past, we reimbursed with checks but found that some respondents did not have checking accounts and/or were having to pay check cashing fees to utilize their incentive. Our Visa cards also offer the option of checking balance and transaction history online at: (https://www.prepaidcardstatus.com)

8. The last time I participated, I was reimbursed a different amount. Why the difference?

Our clients generally make the determination on how much the participant honorarium will be. Part of our responsibility, however, is to guide the client in order to reimburse an adequate amount to offset any expenses you may incur for participating. Honorariums depend on the time commitment for participating, locale and difficulty of finding the specific target audience. Clients sometimes also request mandatory participation in pre-group research assignments to be completed before the research interview. This task also increases the amount our clients are willing to reimburse participants.

9. Who is your client?

Our clients want and need to remain anonymous for the majority of our research studies. Some clients will reveal themselves when anonymity is not needed. However, most will remain anonymous in order to prevent bias, etc. Just as we ensure your privacy, we must also ensure that our client’s identity remains confidential upon their request.

We conduct research for many types of industries and companies including product manufacturers, organizations, and advertising agencies just to name a few!

11. Why do you ask my age, ethnic background, level of education and/or other demographic information?

Our clients request that we invite a balanced, unbiased mix of respondents to participate in their studies in order to best achieve representation of their target audiences.

12. What exactly is the study about?

The general subject matter is typically provided. In order to prevent bias, we are not privy to the exact topics and concepts to be discussed.

13. If I qualify, why am I not necessarily invited?

Clients may only be looking for 16 respondents total. In turn, we screen hundreds of people to find a good balance of qualified respondents. Sometimes we have already filled a group that you might otherwise qualify to participate in.

We not only have to find qualified respondents but within the pool of qualified participants need to represent a mix of types of respondents who answer similar ways in order to obtain diversity.

14. How do I cancel for a research study I’ve committed to participating in?

Our preference is for you to call and speak with a live representative who works at the recruiting office that invited you. When doing so, reference the project number associated with the study you were invited to and agreed to participate in. Participant attendance to studies is recorded and cancellations may result in exclusion from our database.

15. What is a “firm” commitment and why is it so important?

We ask that respondents make a firm commitment to participate upon invitation. We promise our clients a certain number of respondents for each project. When respondents miss their scheduled appointments with us, we miss our target and have no opportunity to replace them. This can lead to serious implications up to a client choosing not to return to Nichols Research due to low “show rates”.

In the case of an emergency, please call us to cancel as soon as you are able to so that we may find a replacement. Most importantly, we want to be able to count on those who have agreed to participate, arrive on-time, and contribute to the research.

Additionally, we do track participation and will cease to call habitually late or no-show/no-call participants for future studies.

16. What is a “hold” status and why am I on it?

A “hold” status means that your answers are a close fit to qualifying but are just out of the parameters of what our client is looking for. It might also indicate that you qualify but that we have already accepted too many respondents who answered like you did. If we have the capacity, we will place your answers on “hold” to present to our client. In the event of relaxation of participant requirements, or cancelations, we will potentially call “holds” up until the day of the study to invite them to participate.

Participants on “hold” are not required to hold a spot in their schedule for us and we understand if you are no longer available to participate if you are later approved by our client. Likewise, we are not holding a spot for you in a research study when you are on “hold” status.

17. I am on the national “Do Not Call” registry. Why can you still call me?

The marketing research industry is excluded from the national Do Not Call Registry because we do not sell or promote anything. The Federal Trade Commission regulates the National Do Not Call Registry. Please see page 9 of their report regarding marketing research calls.

http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/01/100104dncadditionalreport.pdf

18. How do you protect my information?

Our proprietary database software has security parameters with limited access to required personnel only who have all signed an NDA and confidentiality agreement as a condition of their employment. We take every measure to protect the security of all personally identifiable information.

We will not mislead a participant regarding the nature of the research or how the information will be used. We take the privacy of your personal information seriously.

Please review our Privacy Policy Page.

19. I no longer wish to hear from Nichols Research. Will you remove me from your contact list?

Absolutely!

Please email us at remove@nicholsresearch.com to unsubscribe and provide us with the name, phone number, and email that you would like to have unsubscribed from our opt-in database. You may only make the request on behalf of yourself or your child under the age of 15.

20. What’s the gimmick? What are you selling?

We unconditionally guarantee that we will never try to sell or promote anything to you. There are no gimmicks – we legitimately help our clients through marketing research, but do not have any involvement in their direct sales or marketing.