The Market Research Online Community or MROC, has been valued for its versatility. Because of the high levels of anonymity and privacy of the respondent, the MROC is ideal for dealing with more sensitive topics such as sexual health, chronic diseases or gender-specific issues.

An MROC is a private online site with social network and research features where hundreds of invited and profiled consumers participate in research activities; discuss and share their thoughts and experiences while moderators interact with respondents and systematically gather research feedback. The MROC can run from 2 weeks up to several months (or even for more than a year). Activities are posted daily; sometimes 3 to 4 activities are posted on a daily basis, creating quite a buffet of research discussions and topics to keep respondents busy.

When it comes to exploring more sensitive topics in MROCs, respondents can take part in the research in their own time and in private. They do not have to face their fellow respondents in a crowded room, with the embarrassment of exposing personal details.

Because of the privacy of the MROC, respondents are more enthusiastic to participate. They are honest and open and do not have to worry about being judged for their choices or situation.

A recent MROC we completed on a particular chronic disease ran with a smaller number of respondents to create a greater sense of privacy and security. Respondents found the experience extremely rewarding because they were able to use the MROC as a support group and exchange ideas and experiences with fellow respondents. They also shared intense levels of details; details which would not have been shared in a focus group.

So for marketers and researchers who need to understand topics that are more sensitive in nature, we fully encourage you to harness the privacy and sense of community that the MROC has to offer.