What can I learn from testing project ideas?

You can focus your test on various issues:

  • Project idea: Is it acceptable and feasible for your target group? In a focus group, people might comment on your project ideas, for example, by saying that they might be prepared to have home energy audits done, but they don't think they would make any investment decisions on the basis of a one-hour audit.
  • Particular project element: You might, for example, examine the importance of financial incentives in your project. In an interview or focus group, before asking anything, you might listen to hear whether anyone noticed the incentive in your project presentation. If no one comments on it, this is information. You could then ask them what they think about the incentive. Does it matter to them? Is it big enough? Is it important or not?
  • Communication materials: Test for language, design, overall impression, understandability. Ask people to explain what they think you are trying to communicate. Ask for words they didn't understand or like. What impressions did the images give? How would they feel if approached with this type of material?
  • Entire project design: A mini-pilot might be best to test all instruments and ways of engaging your target group at the same time. You could notice issues related to timing, communications, but also what aspects of the project worked or didn't work.