Welcome to the FDR Group.

We are experts at conducting focus groups, in-depth interviews, opinion surveys, and program evaluations. That’s what we do.

We approach our work with honesty, creative intelligence, pragmatism, and great curiosity. That’s what defines our work.

People sometimes ask, ″What′s your business model?″ Virtually all our work stems from repeat business or referrals from clients who have trusted us for years. We earn that trust every time we start and end a project. That′s our business model.

We′ll work with you to design a tailor-made study that captures the fears and values that drive people′s views and finds out what people really care about. Our goal is to conduct research that matters. That′s what we care about.

What We Do

We′re a full-service opinion research company that uses the tools of public opinion research to help (mainly) nonprofits succeed with their programmatic, strategic planning, and communications efforts. Our expertise is in focus groups, in-depth interviews, surveys, program evaluations, and research design.

Focus groups and in-person interviews. Qualitative research that draws candid reactions from the people whose thinking you′d like to understand. Insights from focus groups and in-person interviews will help:

  • Identify areas of opportunity and backlash
  • Develop original, groundbreaking surveys
  • Design effective communication strategies and messages

Surveys. Nonpartisan surveys that influence the policy debate with thought-provoking findings that resonate with policymakers & the press and answer questions such as:

  • What do people really want?
  • Where are stakeholders conflicted?
  • What fears, values, and hopes drive constituents’ views?

Program evaluations. In-depth analyses of programmatic activities and outcomes that:

  • Fine-tune programs and document outcomes
  • Provide level-headed, honest reporting of the views of leaders, staff, and constituents
  • Engage key stakeholders

Who We Are

We′ve been a research team since 1996—first at Public Agenda, the highly-regarded nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, and now as the FDR Group, which we founded together in 2005.

Steve Farkas

Ann Duffett, PhD

The FDR Group Difference

We have a stellar track record of conducting successful attitudinal research over numerous studies with clients from a broad ideological spectrum. We are effective because:

  • We′re adept at both qualitative & quantitative research methods. Each technique has its strengths. We know how to choose the right technique at the right time.
  • We′re pros at getting to the heart of the research story. We won′t do a data dump and report every small detail; nor will we only tell you what you′d like to hear.
  • We′re great translators. We tweak our work to speak to the needs of a reporter covering a story, a professional responding to a presentation, a policymaker designing legislation, or Joe Q. Public trying to make sense of an issue.
  • No one will pay closer attention to your work. The questions you care about become the questions we care about. All of the research is personally conducted by the two partners—Steve Farkas and Ann Duffett.
  • We design each project from scratch. We do not produce conveyor belt research—though our work builds upon what we and others have learned in the past, every study is unique.
  • There′s no end to the number of topics that interest us. Much of our work is in public education, but we′ve taken on the economy, substance abuse, open-source software, peace, health care, and tolerance on college campuses. 

Why Research Matters

At the FDR Group, we believe that research matters because—done correctly—it provides both strategic and practical knowledge.

Strategic knowledge. Initiatives and reforms have a far better chance of success when they tap people′s values. Opinion research can help new initiatives find their natural constituencies. The FDR Group can help your organization:

  • Focus its agenda
  • Communicate effectively
  • Anticipate areas of opportunity and resistance
  • Avoid unnecessary battles

Practical knowledge. Opinion research is a tool that can help anticipate roadblocks and plan strategy—before you invest time, money, and human resources. People sometimes resist change because it contradicts their experience, so if you understand their take on what works and what doesn′t, you′ll gain invaluable insights. The FDR Group can advance your initiatives by helping you:

  • Accurately gauge receptivity to proposed solutions
  • Understand the origins and intensity of people’s concerns
  • Anticipate turf wars and organizational resistance

What People Say About Us

I’ve been working with Steve and Ann at the FDR Group for 20+ years. They are tops at generating research that reflects the voices and concerns of real citizens, parents, and students. Their work results in action and has been invaluable in my efforts to improve public education in Ohio and in Idaho.

Terry RyanBLUUM

I have used FDR Group research and expertise for over a decade and on many projects which varied in scope from simple to complex. I have always been delighted with the results they provide in terms of insight, rigor, timeliness, and ease of use. I recommend them highly for anyone who needs clear insights into how the public thinks.

Brad RourkeKettering Foundation

If you want quality survey research done in the United States today—creative, careful, conclusive—you should hasten to the FDR door. I′ve worked with this team for fifteen years and there′s no issue on which they can′t find a sound way to take (and record, analyze and interpret) the pulse of the general public or a key constituency within it.

Chester E. Finn, Jr.Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The FDR Group were absolute professionals and conducted the evaluation of our Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence masterfully. They worked hard to measure and evaluate many difficult-to-capture concepts, balancing qualitative and quantitative research. They were deeply invested in this project, merging data with storytelling and illuminating connections we hadn’t seen previously. FDR Group delivered a robust and thoughtful evaluation on time and on budget. We could not have been happier with their work.

Danny CorwinHarbor Freight Tools for Schools

PEN America has been fortunate to join forces with the FDR Group on numerous occasions to tackle issues spanning disinformation, censorship efforts by state actors and self-censorship by writers. Sound, credible, and rigorous research is absolutely essential when navigating a field where the very nature of truth is under attack, and we are grateful to have partnered with an organization that is committed to the highest research standards.

Suzanne NosselPEN America

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the FDR Group on two important surveys with a complex array of target audiences, stakeholders, and measurement requirements. Throughout both experiences, Ann and Steve have been incredibly thoughtful, conscientious, and precise. They know how real people think and speak and are able to translate tricky questions into ones that are easy to answer. They really listen when people share their experiences with them and are able to gain the trust of their respondents through integrity and tireless support. And, they have the technical toolkit and know-how to turn around insights from messy survey results. Calls with the FDR Group are always my favorite of the week and I hope to do more survey research in the future with them!

Layla O'KaneLightcast