Chasen Research Review Assignment

When you apply for NIH funding, Use the PHS Assignment Request Form to identify the institute and study section that best match your scientific focus and list areas of expertise needed to understand and review your application. You can view the form at G.600 - PHS Assignment Request Form.

This is especially pertinent to investigator-initiated applications, which are reviewed through NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) rather than NIAID’s Scientific Review Program. To learn more about locus of review, read our January 20, 2016 article “Where Will Your Application Be Reviewed?”

After you apply, check in the eRA Commons to see where your application will be reviewed.

If you didn't get the right assignment or you think you requested the wrong institute, contact your program officer. Your application stands the best chance of getting funded if it goes to an institute that considers the research high-priority, and program officers are in the best position to make that assessment.

If you didn’t get the study section you requested, consider whether the section to which your application is assigned also meets your needs. CSR may have more than one study section with the expertise you require and sometimes creates ad hoc groups to fill in gaps. If you requested a study section and were assigned to one starting with “ZRG”, it could be due to a reviewer conflict or other reason for an ad hoc group to fill a gap. See CSR Special Emphasis Panels.

About 30 days before each review meeting, the study section’s roster is posted in the eRA Commons. Check again to make sure the study section has the necessary expertise to review your application. If it does not or if you are concerned that there are problematic competitors on the roster, notify your scientific review officer (SRO).

Requesting Changes

If you feel your application was not assigned to an appropriate institute or study section, you can request a change.

Before requesting a change of study section, first identify one with expertise that you believe better matches your research:

  • Check CSR’s Integrated Review Groups to find an alternative. Find roster links at the top of the study section pages.
  • Discuss your alternative with the chief of the integrated review group for your assigned study section. Find his or her contact information in the CSR Personnel Directory or ask your SRO for help if you cannot find it online. Do not contact the listed reviewers.

Then, to make your request, email csrdrr@mail.nih.gov requesting a new assignment and briefly stating the rationale for the change. Below is an example of an acceptable request:

"The focus of study section X seems to be more on the structural biology of molecules of immunologic importance. Since my application proposes to develop new antibodies for Phase I human studies, the clinical perspective of reviewers on study section Y is critical to appreciate the approaches I have taken."

For an institute reassignment request, follow the same process, but tailor your letter to a change of institute.

This information is then used by the companies and manufacturers behind those services and products to improve or develop new products.

Thar’s right, as a thank you for your time and opinion, companies will reward you with cash or gift cards.

Just how much you can make with focus groups depends on a few factors.

We’ll talk about the exact numbers in a moment.

But first, for those of you not familiar with focus groups, let’s get a quick overview.

As I mentioned, it’s just another way of conducting market research studies to gather data for improving and developing new and better products and services.

Nowadays, focus groups are also used for other purposes like gathering data about political views of the population.

Unlike online surveys, focus groups are (mostly) conducted in a physical location. But there are also other forms as well.

Focus group as a form of market research has a long history going all the way back to World War II where they were using it to determine the effectiveness of propaganda ads.

These studies were originally called “focused interviews” or “group depth interviews.”

According to Wikipedia, the concept was first used at the Bureau of Applied Social Research in America by the renowned sociologist Robert K. Merton who is known as the “Father of the Focus Group.”

When most people think of focus groups, they imagine a group of people gathered around a table having a conversation.

While that is true to some extend, it only describes one form of it.

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Focus groups are conducted in a variety of ways.

1. In-person

You’ll be asked to show up on a certain day in a local facility where you will be in a room with 7 to 20 people discussing various aspects of the topic of the study.

Since these are done in local settings, you’ll have to be a local resident to participate (though there are studies that allow anyone from anywhere to participate if you don’t mind driving a long time to get there.)

It can last between 30 minutes to 3 hours. Most focus groups, however, last about 40 minutes.

As far as the pay goes, this is where you can make the most money. You can get paid anywhere from $30 to $400 or more.

For longer studies that may take several sessions, it’s not unheard of to be paid up to a $1000 or so. But those are rare.

2. Online

These studies are conducted online through chat rooms or private online bulletin boards.

Depending on the subject of the study, it can be a one-time session lasting from 40 minutes to 2 hours or so, or multiple sessions held for a few days or weeks with multiple sessions on different days lasting from 1 to 2 hours or so.

These studies usually have smaller payout compared to in-person studies. You ca expect anywhere from $20 to $200 or more.

3. Telephone interviews

As the name suggests, studies are done over the phone.

It works the same way as an online or in-person study – you’ll be asked a series of questions about the subject of the study.

These usually are shorter and last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes or so.

Again, the pay depends on the subject of the study and the length of the interview. Expect anywhere from $20 to $150 or so.

4. In-home interviews

This is rare, but it does happen.

Basically, the researcher or researchers will show up to your house (obviously, with your prior permission) to conduct the interview.

The pay depends on the subject and the length of the study.

Expect $30 to $100 or so.

5. Shop Along

This is a fun one.

It’s kind of like mystery shopping, but the objective is different.

Instead of the employees and the store as a whole being watched and rated on performance, you (the shopper) is watched by the researcher.

You and a researcher will go out to shop. You do your shopping as normal while the researcher observes your behavior and the way you shop.

Pay can be anywhere from $30 to $100.

If it’s a specific item/store that they want you to shop for/from, then they’ll pay for the product(s), and in some cases, they may even let you keep it.

Example

Let’s assume you are invited to participate in a focus group and the subject of the study is Soda.

Here are the kind of questions you may be asked:

  • What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Soda?
  • What do you think is the best thing about Soda?
  • What’s the worst thing about Soda?
  • What brands come to mind when you think of Soda?
  • Would you buy Soda if it was $3 per can?
  • Etc…

These are the kind of question you may be asked.

Usually, you get to discuss the answers with other participants.

It’s not a cut and dried situation with yes or no answers. The purpose here is to get as much information as possible especially the underlying causes of your beliefs about the subject of the study.

How much money can you make with focus groups?

It really depends on many factors, mainly:

  • The length of focus group
  • The subject of the study

As you can imagine, shorter studies come with smaller rewards while longer ones come with bigger rewards.

From my own experience of participating in local focus groups here in St. Louis MO and the research I have done, the average focus group pays anywhere from $20 to $200 or more.

Most studies take around 40 minutes and you earn about $40 to $100.

Again, these are just rough numbers. I have heard of studies where people were paid up to a $1000, but those are usually longer ones where you may even have to attend a few focus group sessions.

I haven’t heard of any number above that, but if you’re looking for that kind of money you may want to look into paid clinical trials.

How do you get paid?

Most focus group studies pay their participants with cash.

Online focus groups may also pay via PayPal or even gift cards.

Nonetheless, you’ll know the detail beforehand.

How to find legitimate focus groups

Fortunately, there are less focus group related scams because of the nature of the industry and how it works.

There is really no comparing the number of mystery shopping scams or even paid survey scams with focus groups scams.

But there are scams and it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

Now, finding focus groups to participate in is not that hard.

We’re going to include a big list at the end of this post.

But, you can also find trusted research firms by using the following sources:

1. Craigslist

I know it seems weird, but since most focus groups are conducted in physical locations and require local people, companies conducting them will normally post ads on Craigslist’s “Jobs” or “Gigs” section.

Be careful, though. If you’re going to get scammed, this is the most likely places for it. We’ll give you some tips later to help you avoid scams.

2. Quirks

This is a site for people and companies in the business of market research.

But you can use its “Directory” section to locate focus groups companies and their facilities in your area.

3. GreenBook

This one is like the Yellow Pages for the market research industry. Again, although it’s geared towards the people in the industry, you can use its massive database of market research firms to find local focus groups.

4. BlueBook

This is a massive directory of market research firms. They have a dedicated section just for focus group facilities.

Tips

Here are a few tips that will help you avoid scams and hopefully make the most money.

  • No legitimate company conducting focus groups will ever ask you to pay a registration fee.
  • Legit firms don’t pay out of proportion. If the study lasts for $40 minutes but the payout is $2000, that should be a signal to you that something is wrong.
  • Legit research firms will not email or call you out of the blue telling you that you have been chosen to participate in their study.
  • At the end of the day, your common sense and gut feeling is normally your best defense system.
  • If it looks and sounds too good to be true, it probably is

List of legit focus groups

Let’s get to the important stuff…

Legitimate focus groups that actually pay!

As I mentioned earlier, focus groups are conducted in two ways these days:

  1. Online.
  2. Locally in a physical location (this being the most common and one that pays the most.)

You’ll have to show up to the firm’s facility where the study will be conducted. So, only local residents are usually accepted. Which is why we’re also listing the locations of each company’s facility.

However, some of these firms also conduct online focus groups as well as surveys and phone interviews which anyone from anywhere can participate in. Don’t write off the company just because it doesn’t have a facility in your area. Check their site to see if they also have online panels.

1. NYU Research Studies

This is the research lab of the Psychology department of the New York University. They conduct studies related to psychology.

Pay: $10 to $20 per hour

Location(s):

2. Usability Sciences

They conduct usability tests, focus groups, and other research studies.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Irving, Texas (near Dallas)

3. Adler Weiner Research

Besides focus groups, they also do a lot of in-depth interviews, in-home visits, and shop along visits.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

4. Indy Focus

Although they accept anyone, they have a separate panel just for healthcare professionals since many of their studies target the healthcare industry,

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Phoenix
  • Indianapolis
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • New York
  • Los Angeles

5. 20|20 Panel

Most of their studies (that also include online surveys) are conducted online. But they conduct focus groups in physical locations as well.

Pay: $50 – $150

Location(s):

  • Nashville, TN
  • Miami, FL
  • Charlotte, NC.

6. FocusGroup.com

In addition to in-person focus groups, they also conduct other research studies such as webcam focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys, mystery shopping assignments, product placement studies, and more!

Pay: $75 – $150

Location(s):

  • Appleton, WI
  • Atlanta
  • Bala Cynwyd, PA
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • San Francisco, CA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Teaneck, NJ

7. Fieldwork

They’ve been around for over 30 years and have locations all over the U.S.

Pay: $75 and up

Location(s):

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Fort Lee, NJ
  • LA-Orange County
  • Minneapolis
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

8. Google Usability

Yes, we’re talking about THE Google!

As you can imagine this is focused solely on Google products. They conduct online, in-home, and in-person studies.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Too many to list. Google has offices all over the world.

9. Inspired Opinions

Inspired Opinions is a product of Schlesinger Associates, a company that has been doing market research for over 40 years. Besides in-person focus groups, they also conduct online and on the phone studies.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Chicago O’Hare
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Bala Cynwyd
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • St. Louis

United Kingdom

  • London, U.K.
  • Wimbledon, U.K.

Germany

France

10. Nichols Research

Besides the traditional focus groups, they also conduct shop-along, taste tests, and mock juries.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

11. Plaza Research

They also conduct many other types of research studies other than focus groups – one-on-one interviews, usability testing, telephone & web-based surveys, screener development.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Las Vegas
  • San Diego
  • Tampa
  • Phoenix
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Houston
  • San Francisco
  • Denver
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Metro New York – Paramus, NJ
  • Metro Philadelphia – Marlton, NJ
  • Atlanta
  • Dallas

12. Probe Market Research

Probe is a new(ish) company (established in 2005) that does Mystery Shopping, Product Trials, Usability Tests, Gang Sessions/Hall Tests, as well as focus groups.

Pay: $50 – $400

Location(s):

  • New York City
  • San Francisco

13. Savitz Research

You’ll have to fill out an online form and wait to be notified. They conduct studies through their panels in most major U.S. cities as well as Europe, South America, Canada, and parts of Asia.

Pay: $50 – $300

Location(s):

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Des Moines
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Francisco
  • Tampa

14. Aim Research

You’ll have to fill out their online forum and wait to be notified.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Costa Mesa
  • Hackensack
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • Morristown

15. Atkins Research

They also do other forms of market research studies besides focus groups – Jury Simulation, Car Clinics, Ethnographies….

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

16. Focuscope

According to the company, they conduct over 500 studies every year.

Pay: $75 to $250

Location(s):

  • Chicago
  • Oak Brook Terrace, IL
  • Oak Park, IL

17. FocusPointeGlobal

To join you have to go through focusgroup.com.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Appleton, WI
  • Atlanta
  • Bala Cynwyd, PA
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • St. Louis
  • Teaneck, NJ

18. Focus Room

They also conduct other studies such as Media Dial Sessions, Taste Tests, Product Placements….

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

19. Hagen Sinclair

Their study formats include in-person interviews, telephone interviews, and focus groups as well as online and mobile studies that you can access from your computer.

Pay: $45 to $500

Location(s):

20. MediaBarn Research

They offer “honorarium” as your reward for participating in their studies. Typical honorariums are gift cards, check, or cash.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

21. Focus on Boston

They also do medical research, taste testing, product testing, and more.

Pay: $75 to $200

Location(s):

  • Boston, MA
  • Braintree, MA 02184

22. Covance

If you love taste testing and live in San Francisco East Bay area, this is for you. They do focus groups and taste testing for some of the biggest food manufacturers in the U.S.

Pay: $30 or more (based on the length of the study)

Location(s):

23. Pragmatic Research

They do a lot of medical related focus groups and studies.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

24. Shifrin-Hayworth

Their study forms include one-on-one interviews, telephone interviews and focus groups, and last from 30 minutes to three hours.

Pay: $50 to $250

Location(s):

25. Percy & Company

They actually have two separate panels. One is for everyday consumers, the other is for business owners, physicians, and other professionals.

Pay: $75 to $200

Location(s):

26. Baltimore Research

They also have two separate panels – one for the general public and one for medical professionals.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

27. Chasen Research

Chasen Research has been a leading edge qualitative field service for over 20 years. They are located in New York but they conduct studies nationwide.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

28. Advantage Research Services Group, Inc.

They conduct studies in most major industries – healthcare, media, finance, and more.

Pay: $25 to $100

Location(s):

  • Detroit
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Southbend, Indiana
  • Columbus, Ohio

29. Experience Dynamics

Besides focus groups, they also have other forms of studies you can participate in – Usability Testing, Phone interviews, and online surveys.

Pay: $50 to $150

Location(s):

  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Portland

30. Marketing Analytics

This is a UK based company that allows anyone to participate in their online focus groups as long as they have Internet access and an email address.

Pay: £20 (US$35)

Location(s):

  • Worldwide (all of their studies are online focus groups.)

31. Orman Guidance

They also offer other exciting opportunities – product testing where they give you a product to take home and use for a certain period so you can give feedback, taste testing studies, as well as Shop-along where you shop at a grocery or retail store while a researcher observes your behavior.

Pay: $50 to $200

Location(s):

32. Boulder Focus Center

They specialize in studies related to sports, travel and recreation industries.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

33. ANR (Alan Newman Research)

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

34. Accurate Data Marketing

Accurate Data Marketing has been around for over 20 years.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

35. Maslansky + Partners

They conduct both online and offline focus groups.

Pay: $75 to $250

Location(s):

  • New York
  • London
  • Washington

36. Campos

They conduct studies for some of the biggest local companies in Pittsburgh.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

37. Focus Nashville

As the name implies, thy are Nashville-based firm.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

38. Consumer Opinion Services

If you want your kids to have some fun and make some money at the same time, this firm conducts studies with kids as participants.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Portland
  • Seattle
  • Las Vegas

39. Herron Research

They also conduct other forms of research studies such as phone interviews and shop-along.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Tampa, FL area,

40. Ingather Research

They also do a lot of taste test studies. They conduct research with kids as young as 5 to seniors in their 70′s and 80′s. Studies range from 10 minutes to 3 hours.

Pay: $40 to $500+

Location(s):

41. XpertFocus Canada

Here is one for our Canadian readers. They specialize in Music Studies, Website Testing, as well as Taste Testing.

Pay: Varies

Location(s):

Final thoughts

Participating in focus groups is an excellent way to earn extra money.

Not only that, sometimes you may also get access to new products and services that haven’t even hit the market.

Be sure to bookmark this page as we will update it with new paid focus group opportunities.

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