Best Practices for Small Group Product Evaluations 4 June 2014 Tucson,AZ Scope: This document will cover those occasions where a small group of individuals (generally fewer than 10) evaluate a product or a series of products without the use of formal hypothesis testing or statistics, for a specific purpose. Outputs from a small group evaluation are used to inform decisions. In the product testing industry, these may be referred to as: benchings, cuttings, tastings, informal tastings, or technical tastings. For this document, in scope are the different types of learning objectives, the decision criteria, the product exposure process and information collected, summarization and review of responses, and the decision or outcome process. The aim of this Guide is to provide best practices, gathered from a group of sensory evaluation professionals representing a range of industries, so outcomes from small group product evaluations are done in a science-based, bias-free and robust manner. It is this groups belief that decisions made based on properly designed and run small group evaluations are better informed decisions. This Guide will cover the planning process, including objective setting, the number and types of participants, ballots, sample preparation, the product exposure process, how to review information collected to address the objective, and how to manage the discussion and evaluation process in the small group. Food, household and personal care examples will be included. The different types of small group product reviews covered will not be exhaustive. Small group tastings and product evaluations that are regular activities of a quality function, or product reviews with a nebulous or ill-defined outcome will not be covered in this document. Examples of objectives, sample set-ups, instructions to participants, ballots and summarizing the information to address the objectives will be provided.
Small group product evaluations occur in a wide range of organizations and decisions are being made from the results from them. The E18 Committee believes that there are best practices that should be followed when a small group product evaluation is planned and implemented. Following these best practices will allow the decisions made to be based on more robust data.
KeywordsBench cuttings, Informal Tastings, Small Group Tastings
The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.Back to Top
Draft Under Development