Rather than apply advocate specific processes and "proprietory methodologies", we used whatever methodology matches your research goals and budget.
Focus groups are qualitative method to learn about customer attitudes and preferences for conceptual models, products, and services. The primary benefit of focus group research is brainstorming or additive effect of group discussions The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Typically, focus groups last two hours and consist of 8 to 12 respondents who share common characteristics such as demographics, purchase patterns, industry or work experiences.
In-depth interviews are most often used where the topic matter is personal, involves testing technology, or to gain more in-depth insight into customer behavior. Where focus groups rely on the exchange or cross-fertilization of ideas,IDIs are used to probe deeper into respondent attitudes and beliefs. Sometimes the sum of the parts can be greater than the whole.
Ethnography refers to an observation research methodology created by social scientists to observe different cultures. Ethonography literally means "Picture of a people". Companies use ethnographic research to explore who their customers are, what they need and how they use their products.
Bulleting boards (for online focus groups) are excellent for deep exploration of ideas, products and attitudes because respondents are allowed to take time to reflect on their opinions. Also online groups provide a venue where respondents can remain anonymous, allowing researcher to avoid some of the privacy issues that in-person groups pose.
Usability research is many things to many people. Ideally, it is an integrated, iterative process that complements the product development cycle. Testing usually is done with 6 to 10 respondents and lasts 40 to 60 minutes. The type of research methodology varies depending on how developed the product or prototype is, the complexity of the product or application, and the novelty of the product concept.
Quantative research methodologies are used to statistically validate customer preferences and attiudes. Surveys can be done online, in-person ot by mail. Surveys typically include 100-400 participants. The duration of the survey depends on the number of respondents interviewed and the mode of communication.