Tips for moderating kids and teens with Pam Goldfarb-Liss

We were joined on our Now That’s Significant podcast recently by Pam Goldfarb Liss, president of LitBrains - Igniting Ideas!, a full-service qualitative research agency. Pam is a veteran qualitative research consultant and moderator who has moderated and interviewed kids and teens from what now comprises three generations: millennials, Gen Z and now Gen Alpha. Her many years of experience includes work with subject matters that range from soda pop and hamburgers to diabetes, urinary tract infections and hospitals. She joined the podcast to talk with us about how to best conduct research with what she believe is one of the most important demographics – and future consumers: kids and teens.

She speaks with us about how, even though some of these younger people are not considered “customers” quite yet, they are actually making purchase decisions in the household. Pam believes that it is critical to include them in market research, all while understanding that an entirely different approach is needed to gain insights. This can include asking age-appropriate questions that consider their developing reasoning abilities, or making a research project into a game, puzzle, scavenger hunt or some activity that is more engaging.

Pam outlines a few of the differences among generations, including the varied impact that things like social media have had on the formation of opinions among younger generations. Because she has worked on qualitative research project with multiple generations during their childhood and teen years, she is able to give a historical perspective on how approaching the age group has changed from generation to generation.

Of course, when dealing with children, there is a whole host of privacy laws to consider. She stresses the need for involving parents throughout the research process, especially in recruiting. They can also provide context for the research such as providing information on media usage, household income and similar metrics. She says, “Parents should be a part of projects - I truly believe that parents are our partners, and I can't say that enough…having parents as part of something increases participation, it increases the quality of connection and it also helps the kids feel more comfortable, which is part of the connection.” She provides various examples of how this might work in several different settings.

Pam has created an online learning resource called Mission Kid Possible to help professional researchers understand the power of kids and teens in any qualitative market research environment. With an annual calendar of live presentations, on-demand content and live courses, this learning site will empower moderators to create productive and engaging kids and teen research. During the show, she does give some key tips for researchers to better reach kids including being transparent, accessible, and adaptable, as well as thinking about pre-work exercises and providing multiple avenues for expression, such as drawing or discussing creative scenarios.

Pam is committed to reaching the younger demographics and believes that the research community cannot over-acknowledge their influence and importance. Understanding the distinct qualities of the youngest generations and adapting research methods accordingly is essential to uncovering meaningful insights.

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