“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”

You may or may not recognise the voice of the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in that title.

It’s also the type of thing you hear from people who are coming to focus groups – especially if the session is starting straight after work. “The traffic was awful”, “Something urgent needed dealing with”, “I had to sort out childcare”

If you’re running a jam-packed two-hour session and it starts five minutes late you’re already compromising the quality of the research.

We’ve just finished a 12-group project and every single group started on time. Some of them started 10 minutes early!


Well, we have to thank Susan Fader of Fader Associates in the USA for a neat little idea. Susan spoke at the AQR/QRCA conference in Budapest earlier this year, about how to introduce gamification onto some of the practicalities of qual research.

So here’s what we did. We ran a prize draw for participants who arrived 15 minutes early to their session. The prize was only £20, but it worked! People were arriving at the venues up to half an hour before the scheduled start time to make sure they were entered into the draw (even though some of the groups started at 5.45pm).

It’s the little things that make the difference!