Our History

Founded in 1991, The Research Group researchgrp.com is nationally recognized as a qualitative market research industry leader.

Barbara Gassaway, President and Founder, has been recognized as “One of Maryland’s Top 25 Business Women” and “Future 50 Companies,” by SmartCEO Magazine, currently serves as Chair of QRCA Metro DC Chapter, teaches Qualitative Research at RIVA Training Institute, and is an active member of AMA, MRA, PMRG, and PBIRG.

The Research Group was founded in 1991 as ‘The Family Research Group’ performing full- service qualitative market research, as well as hosting projects in a small focus group facility with field services. Formerly the Marketing Research Director at Child Growth & Development in New York, Barbara constructed the original facility to serve national clientele in a new capacity. As facility space demand increased among clients in diverse industries, expansion became necessary.

In 1994, the headquarters expanded its physical location to include an additional focus group suite, increased recruiter/Interviewer stations, and added administrative staff. Again in 1999, the headquarters expanded focus group suites, added VIP Client Lounges, a kitchen with capacity temperature-controlled refrigeration and commercial-grade food service equipment, and private client offices. With the move came technology upgrades to accommodate greater data transfer capacity, Focus Vision and Active Group remote observation tools, and increased recruiter/ interview capacity.

As the facility and field services’ demand grew, the brand no longer effectively represented the product. After significant market research of our own in 2001, Observation Baltimore, a division of The Family Research Group, was created. We were now able to effectively distinguish the focus group facility and field services of Observation Baltimore from the full-service, qualitative services of The Family Research Group. Likewise emerging with a more diverse client base, specifically in the healthcare industry, in 2006 “Family” was removed from the parent brand to emerge as, The Research Group. This branding decision allowed us to utilize existing brand equity, as well as communicate a broadened scope of gained expertise.

Enhanced protective security measures were implemented in 2007, and continue to be evaluated annually for employees, electronic database files, and client project files’ archiving. These measures include rigid protocols for client data protection and recruitment management practices as electronic screening became a significant client demand. At the same time, respondent database cultivation efforts were implemented to significantly increase a continuous fresh pool of general consumers, healthcare practitioners, and business professionals.

In 2010, Observation Baltimore and The Research Group moved to Research Park Drive, on the outskirts of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) campus. Not only did this relocation expand our focus group suite capacity, we added a dedicated central location test suite. Our new environmentally-friendly research facility is challenging us to do more with less, and significantly reduce our environmental footprint.