If you are an aspiring – or relatively new – moderator looking to acquire the essential skills needed for moderating in-person focus groups and interviews for qualitative research this course is for you! The valuable skills you will acquire through this course are also transferrable to user experience (UX) research. This course, delivered in-person over 2 days, will help you develop a skillset for powerful questioning and effective listening. The focus will be on learning how to ask the right questions, gaining the skills to confidently run in-group exercises, and understanding how to manage basic group dynamics.

The course is hands-on, with generous opportunities to practice moderating skills both in a theoretical and real-life context. The last part of the course will have you designing the guide for and moderating a real focus group, putting your new skills into practice. Come prepared to engage, have fun and learn all about the essentials of in-person moderation!


We will primarily focus our learning and practice on:

  • Setting yourself up for success before fieldwork
  • Understanding the elements of good Discussion Guide design
  • How to introduce a group and build rapport
  • Asking effective questions and probes
  • Maintaining the flow of the discussion and keeping it on track
  • Managing group dynamics, including challenging respondents
  • Tips for specialized questioning techniques and exercises to elicit deeper responses
Learning Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this Moderating Essentials Course, participants will have:

  • A new skillset that will enable them to understand how, and when, to ask effective questions and probes
  • A good understanding of some specialized tools and exercises that can enhance in-person qualitative discussions
  • An understanding of group dynamics and some techniques to overcome typical challenges of in person qualitative discussions
Who is this course intended for?

This course would be well-suited for those with education in market research or at least 1 year experience working in the market research field who are also aspiring moderators (or relatively new moderators) looking to acquire a skillset for moderating in person focus groups qualitative discussions.  Participants will ideally have at least observed focus groups in the past.

Important Details

Educator:  Deborah Klotz and Bronwen Ward
Delivery: In-person across 2 full day sessions
Size of class: Maximum 6 participants

Rates: $2800 plus HST for CAIPs
$3000 plus HST for non-members

Deborah Klotz has over 15 years experience as an accomplished qualitative research consultant. Her curiosity drives her to explore people’s motivations and behaviours, to understand client businesses and to dig for deep insights.

  • Prior to joining the CAIP instructor team, she taught moderating skills through the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) and the RD Centre for learning. Deborah is also a frequent guest lecturer for the Humber RAP Program.
  • Deborah has won multiple awards for her work including the MRIA’s 2015 Research and Excellence Award and the 2016 Emerging Leader Award

Deborah has experience managing a qualitative practice for two full-service research firms and working with a broad range of clients in industries including (but not limited to) Travel & Tourism, Fast-moving Consumer Goods, Financial Services, Professional Services, Technology, Education, Media and Crown Corporations/Government Agencies.

Bronwen Ward believes every person has a unique and interesting story to tell. She values human perspectives and is always seeking to understand underlying motivations that drive human decision making and behaviour. She is an expert at forging connections, allowing people to feel comfortable and relaxed while facilitating deep meaningful discussions.

  • Bronwen’s wealth of experience in qualitative research crosses many industries and categories. Her skillset provides unparalleled value with both excellence in the details and a keen understanding of the strategy.
  • Bronwen has taught the Qualitative Research Course for the Georgian College RAP Program and has been a frequent guest lecturer.

Deborah and Bronwen are both passionate about sharing their learning and expertise with others; they will be co-presenting on User Experience (UX) Research at the upcoming Annual Qualitative Research Consultants Association Conference (Charlotte, NC) in March 2023. They both currently work at Upwords, a boutique, qual-focused research consultancy, where they help brands make human connections.

We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at [email protected] with any comments or questions.