What I gained from Sharon Livingston's Advanced Moderator Training course was a broader range of projective techniques and a more in-depth understanding of how and when to use them. This additional expertise is what you need to deliver fresh insights to sophisticated clients who have seen many moderators in action. For example, I now am better able to ad-lib a projective line of questioning to explore an unexpected attitude that pops up in a focus group. In my 10 years as a moderator -- and nearly 20 years as a research consultant and former marketing professor -- I have attended a number of seminars and conference presentations that covered projective techniques, and have read various books and articles on qualitative research. Still, most of the content was new and enlightening for me. In fact, a couple of the techniques seemed counterintuitive at first, but we did experiential exercises that demonstrated how they work. Sharon taps her background in clinical psychology, which is, after all, the field that created projective methods. Course participants also benefit from Sharon's extensive experience in applying her behavioral-science expertise to all kinds of marketing problems.
Peter J. DePaulo, Ph.D.
independent qualitative & quantitative research consultant based in suburban Philadelphia, and Associate Editor, Journal of Advertising Research
Sharpen the Focus is wonderful training. I took both the basic and advanced courses. Sharon uses such creativity and has so much enthusiasm when she teaches that it makes the courses both informative and fun. I'm a clinical psychologist by profession, so it opened up my eyes to a whole new way of applying my psychology training. I found the information on handling the back room particularly eye-opening. It was very useful to know that the back room's agenda often isn't the same as the moderator's, that the back room can change its agenda in mid-stream - and you have to be prepared to adapt.
Natalie Rubin, Psy.D
clinical psychologist, Greenlawn, New York
Sharpen the Focus was a wonderful learning experience, and I found Sharon Livingston's ideas to be psychologically sound. There was a lot of meat about the group process. Dr. Livingston knows a tremendous amount about groups, and she described in detail how a moderator can help people put valuable experiences and sensations into words. Her Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs concept will no doubt fuel moderator research for years to come. She has ingeniously discovered seven basic personality types, which emerge in focus groups. She has captured important archetypes, revealing seven different facets of the modern personality. The point of qualitative research is to get the ineffable put into words, to reveal the benefit of a product in a way that directs the company in its further product design and marketing. Understanding the Dwarf personalities allows a moderator to get at the basic, unstated benefits of a product in a surprising new way. This is a stunning find, and Dr. Livingston shared it freely.
George Bouklas, Ph.D.
psychologist in private practice in East Setauket, New York
I've been successfully moderating for 17 years, but there were a lot of projective techniques I didn't know until I took the course. In Sharpen the Focus, I learned that projective techniques can be applied in many more settings and situations than I had been using them for. While I had been utilizing projectives for years, now I have a greater set of tools for meeting clients' research needs. I came away from Sharpen The Focus with new tools on my tool belt.
moderator, Atlanta, Georgia
Advanced Sharpen the Focus is a very useful course for people who are already moderating. It teaches you new ways to get information from focus group participants. I learned techniques I didn't know about before that will make me a better moderator. I liked the informal atmosphere which allowed me to interact with others in the field and learn how they deal with moderating challenges and situations.
20-year veteran moderator, Los Angeles