Common questions asked about viewing facilities

Are comments made during research kept confidential?

VFA members recognise that the identity of people participating in research must not be revealed without their consent to anyone not directly involved in the research, or used for anything other than research purposes. Nobody should be adversely affected or embarrassed as a direct result of participating in a research study. No-one should be coerced or subjected to unwelcome intrusion and must have the right to privacy and the right to withdraw their co-operation at any time.

Can children be used in discussion groups?

Children under 14 should not be interviewed without their parent's consent, nor any young person aged 14-17, if the subject of the interview is sensitive.

Do all viewing facilities recruit the respondents?

No. Some facilities have a fieldwork company which recruits respondents, whilst some viewing facilities only provide room hire. The VFA directory indicates if a viewing facility is able to provide a recruitment service.

Will the viewing facility pay the respondents?

The viewing facility will collect incentives or fees from a moderator or client and pass on to the individual respondent. Some facilities will draw money on a client's behalf. Please note there may be a handling fee for this service.

Are viewing facilities bound by the Data Protection Act?

Yes. VFA Members must abide by the rules and spirit of the principles of the Data Protection Act, and register with the Data Protection Registrar if necessary.

Will the viewing facility tell me exactly who took part?

No. The personal details of the respondents should remain the property of the field agency/initial contact at all times. Records of respondent names and addresses may only be kept for accounting purposes (eg where there is a legal requirement for VAT purposes when handling client incentives). A further interview with the same informants should only be carried out if permission has already been obtained at the previous interview. Re-contacting of respondents by the facility is not in accordance with the MRS Code of Conduct.

Do studios automatically record the groups?

You should check that studios will record the groups and confirm what format of recording you require. The VFA directory indicates the recording capabilities of each facility.

Where can I get a two-way mirror from?

Any good office-fitting company should be able to obtain a two way mirror in whatever size you need. If not, contact a reputable glass supplier to have one made to your requirements.

Is a one-way mirror the same as a two-way mirror?

The correct technical term is two-way mirror but people often refer to them as one way mirrors. Other terms used to describe them include see-through mirrors, transparent mirrors and half-silvered mirrors.

What food is provided by viewing facilities?

Most studios are able to provide food for respondents, clients and moderators as required. This will usually be charged in addition to room hire. The VFA directory indicates if a viewing facility is able to provide catering.