Repeat receipts: a device for generating visible data in market research focus groups

Market research focus groups generate three types of data: first, representatives of commissioning companies or organizations watch the group from behind a one-way mirror; second, they receive a video of the group discussion; third, they are given a report of the focus group. This article analyses how the required data are interactionally produced to be visible for the people behind the one-way screen, for the video and for the report. It describes the phenomenon of repeat receipts as a central device for producing visible data. Repeat receipts are sequences where the moderator repeats participants’ contributions, typically with intonational cues that mark completion. Repeat receipts have several functions. They can (a) highlight central market-research relevant terms from participants’ responses; (b) strip off rhetorical relations by repeating utterances in a decontextualized manner; (c) summarize contributions in repeating contributions of different authors as if of one voice; (d) cover conflict in repeating potentially contradictory contributions as discrete statements; (e) socialize responding by providing templates for the required contributions. Repeat receipts help shape the focus group interaction to generate visible data for the overhearing audience, the video and the report. The article ends with a comparison of repeats in market research focus groups, standardized surveys and news interviews.