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Focus Groups and Market Research for Money
Doing Focus Groups/Research Studies For Extra Money
Focus Groups, Market Research and User Interface Studies
For very short-term but high paying "gigs" (odd jobs, Christmas money jobs, etc) consider doing market research studies.The only ones I have done have been face-to-face studies, focus group studies or telephone studies.
In Denver, Phoenix and other metropolitan areas, there are several market research companies, one of which is called Plaza Research (http://www.iopinion.com/). For a trip downtown with a parking voucher, you can earn $60-$150/hour. If you get on a multi-day study, you can earn $250-$300. Often at the end of your first focus group or interview, they will tell you if they want a second one. They also do some telephone-only interviews, so your location would not be limited.
These organizations pre-screen, so expect to spend 10-30 minutes while they quiz you on the phone to see if they feel you can contribute information of value to them. They may have allocated slots based upon age, location or other criteria. Also, they typically ask you if you are hesitant and shy or forthcoming of opinions.
In the group meetings you are behind a large one-way mirror behind which is recording equipment. I have done some individual ones with an interviewer, also taped for later analysis. I have also done user interface studies where I was set in front of a workstation and presumably every keystroke and mouse click was recorded.
These people want the honest scoop on the products they are studying. Your value added is your opinion as a potential customer. Good luck, I have found it's often interesting as well as decent money!
For other short-term money making ideas, see http://hubpages.com/hub/Odd-Jobs-Employment-in-the-Interim which is my other hub here.