Common research terminology heard in viewing facilities

These are some of the words and phrases commonly used in viewing facilities. If you encounter other terminology not found in this glossary and need an explanation, please do not hesitate to contact us.


The research agency (or independent researcher) carrying out the research on behalf of the client.


The Association for Qualitative Research. This UK based association is the leading organisation for Qualitative Researchers worldwide. See for further information.


A group where participants are encouraged to use lateral thinking and contribute ideas. The idea generation session is kept separate from the evaluation of ideas.

Breakout Room

A room that can be used if to split the main group into smaller groups.

Boardroom Layout

A studio layout where the respondents sit facing each other around a desk. Also known as Executive layout.

Cinema Layout

A studio layout where the respondents sit in rows facing the moderator. Also known as Theatre Layout.

Classroom Layout

A studio layout where the respondents sit in rows, but have desks in front of them to lean on and write on. May also be referred to as Lecture Theatre layout.


The person or organisation commissioning the research.

Consumer Research

Research that yields information about the motives and needs of the consumer.

Depth Interview

A research session that is one respondent and the moderator.

Digital Recording

Recording the session directly to disk on a server in a digital format, as opposed to recording on tape in VHS format, etc. The recording can later be sent to the customer using email or viewed over the Internet.


The world organisation for enabling better research into markets, consumers and societies. See for further information.

Focus Group

A group discussion where respondents who are unknown to each other are brought together to discuss an issue.


A research session of four or more respondents and the moderator.

Hosting or Hostessing

The greeting of and taking care of the respondents prior to and after the group.


A gratuity issued to respondents as a 'thank you' for taking part in the research.

Lounge Layout

A studio layout where the respondents sit in informal surroundings around the room, usually on easy chairs, and possibly with a coffee table in the centre.

Market Research

An umbrella term covering consumer research, opinion research and social research. Market researchers may use both qualitative and quantitative research methods.


The person running the research session.


The Market Research Society is the most widely recognised membership body addressing qualitative and quantitative market research. All VFA members must have at least one employee who is an MRS member and are bound by the MRS Code of Conduct. See for further information.


The person watching the group from behind the one-way mirror. This person is also referred to as the viewer.

Paired Depth

A research session that has two respondents and the moderator.

Qualitative Research

Research focusing on understanding the nature of phenomena and their meaning, rather than their incidence. Usually involves direct face-to-face contact between the researchers and the respondents and in-depth examination of small numbers of observations.

Quantitative Research

Research focusing on the incidence and statistical relationship of variables. Usually involves structured questionnaires with standard questions, little face-to-face contact between respondents and researchers, and the use of large samples subjected to statistical analysis.


The person who invites/arranges for the respondents to take part in the research session.


An individual who is part in the research session.

Signature Sheet Form

A form completed by respondents acknowledging receipt of incentive, giving permission for filming, making aware of MRS code of conduct etc.


The room that the respondents occupy for the research session.


A written record of the comments made during a research session.


A research session that has three respondents and the moderator.

Video Streaming

A technique for allowing remote viewing of the session by the client, delivering the video and audio in real time over the Internet.

Viewing Room

The room the observers (or viewers) use to watch the research session.


Another name for video streaming.

Website Usability Testing

Testing websites for usability and accessibility requires specialised viewing facilities which are able to record both the respondent and their actions on screen.

WiFi Access

Wireless access to the internet. Useful for clients who wish to access email etc using their own laptops.