Blocker questions – Do’s & don’ts

Lizzie Cree

Lizzie Cree


Head of Operations and chief horticulturist of the Liveminds desktop garden. I’m happiest rummaging round a car boot sale or charity shop looking for the next 50p bargain. I have a degree in Geography which has resulted in an inordinate collection of maps & globes, oh and a few colouring pencils...

Blocker questions can change the dynamic of an online qual project. They allow you to create different phases within your research that are unbiased and in turn keep participants engaged. However, blocker questions can cause havoc if not used with careful consideration, believe me, we’ve seen it happen!

Here is our simple guide to using blocker questions within Liveminds and ensuring your participants don’t become stuck at the starting gate.

Do… use blockers in your concept testing

Blocker questions are extremely advantageous within creative and strategic development projects. They allow you to capture the participants’ honest, unbiased opinions on existing products or strategies before drawing a line in the sand and moving on to a second phase, where you can reveal the brand name and their new concepts.

Don’t… block every question

As with all projects, you want to ensure that all your participants respond to every question so that you and your client get the most from them. Making every question a blocker will guarantee your participants tackle every hurdle but they might not make it to the finish line in time. Your participants may have a particular query, the task may not be applicable to them or they may not feel comfortable answering that question – subsequently they are blocked from moving forward onto the rest of the project. Suddenly, the time’s up and they’ve only completed half and are unaware that more questions were waiting for them.

Do… let your participants know what’s expected of them

As a participant, it’s important to have a rough idea of the engagement level required so you can manage your time effectively and make sure that you can respond fully. Lots of blocker questions can prevent participants from seeing the light at the end of the ‘tunnel of questions’, which can be discouraging. Apply a blocker after a segment of related questions to indicate a change in themes and inform participants that more questions will be revealed at a later stage.

Don’t… get carried away

It’s always enticing to use a novel feature when you’re presented with one, but it is not wise to use blocker questions just for the sake of it. For example, diary studies are reflections on a past personal experience and, whilst it is tempting to make sure your participants complete their Day 1 before they move on to Day 2, you must take into account that everyday life can intervene. Sometimes Day 1’s diary has to be filled in a little later than planned. Make sure your participants don’t get their entries muddled or miss days out by only using the necessary blockers.

Blocker questions are a popular and important feature of Liveminds. They add a brand new dimension to online projects and keep participants engaged as they wait to see what’s around the corner. But use them wisely to avoid losing out on valuable insight when your participants are stuck at the first fence. 

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about the endlessly flexible platform features.

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