About Shugoll

Beyond the family name lies a tradition of excellence in market research.

In 1957 on Long Island, Joan Shugoll started one of the original "cottage industries." She confidently guided high-level advertising and corporate executives past family heirlooms and photos, seating them comfortably in her living room. They came to listen to their customers, who were seated around Joan's dining room table, talking about products and ad campaigns. Not long after, Joan became one of the first to use a one-way mirror, helping to define the future of focus group research.

After numerous successes in NY, Joan moved to Washington, DC, where she established new offices. Her business thrived for more than two decades while Merrill Shugoll, Joan's daughter-in-law, was steadily building her own reputation in qualitative marketing research working for a major ad agency in the DC area. After 9 years on the agency side, Merrill decided to open her own qualitative research practice. And when she told Joan of her plans, Joan suggested they join forces instead, changing the firm into a full-service research company. A year later, Dr. Mark Shugoll, Joan's son and a leading social scientist, joined the firm to launch the quantitative division of the company.

Together, the Shugolls have continued in Joan's entrepreneurial footsteps. They helped lead the industry by being among the first to maintain a database of focus group respondents. They were one of the first facilities in the country to offer video conferencing for focus groups. Today they continue to grow their business by adding both services and offices (Shugoll Research can now host and recruit focus groups in three different locations throughout the Washington DC area). That way, you're assured of having the latest in research available to you, backed by the reputation of a long-respected family name.


Joan was much loved by her staff, highly respected by her industry peers and a huge inspiration to other women starting their own businesses.  While she enjoyed all parts of the business, the call center was her special place. After her passing on April 15, 2018, Shugoll Research renamed its call center to honor Joan’s memory.  It is now and will forever be known as the Joan Shugoll Call Center.

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