Another tool that we have used at Passle to validate our assumptions is Google Surveys. You can ask real people real questions, and for $100-$200 you can get some genuine, *unbiased feedback.
We did a series on business blogging. Our own research, painstaking, site by site reviews, showed that the vast majority of websites struggled to maintain their online presence.
We used Google Surveys to see how marketers viewed the situation: they broadly concurred.
It's a bit generalist, but if you want to ask consumers or broad groups a question then it is a great way to make sure you are not just plain wrong.
* 'unbiased'; its an internet survey so that has its own bias.
To find out what people really think, just ask the Internet. When you want answers to your business questions, you need to reach everyday people — not just those who choose to participate in research panels.