Updated: Sep 15
Focus groups have a general-purpose method for collecting data and can serve a wide range of purposes. Running a focus group will provide the business with invaluable business information and insights, which could give an advantage over competitors.
What are focus groups?
Focus groups are a group of a small number of individuals who share common characteristics such as age, geography or interest..etc,. Individuals are asked to take part in an interactive discussion about a predetermined topic. Focus group is particularly used in marketing research and marketing studies.
Focus groups are used to help understand how people with common characteristics think about a particular topic, an issue or a product rather than to assume how their answers are. Focus groups are a useful means of reflecting individuals’ true emotions and behaviors toward subjective issues.
The size of a focus group is set by the purpose of the studies. Group size varies, depending on the topic, but ideally between 8-15 people. Some focus groups meet in person, others meet via telephone or the Internet. The difficulty is whether the opinions expressed in a focus group can be generalized to larger populations.
How to conduct focus groups?
Step 1. Write down goals
Before gathering participants, it’s important to understand why you’re organising the focus group. What are you hoping to find out? Setting you with a road map for planning your focus group.
Step 2. Define target audience
Once the goals have been set, you will have a clearer idea about who you need to invite to participate. Factors to consider include gender, age range, ethnicity, relationship and marital status, education level, income level, and hobbies. You can target different groups to gain deeper insight. Once you know exactly who you are trying to target, you will better understand how to reach out to those individuals.
Step 3. Find a venue
Online streaming platforms are widely used and allow for greater flexibility in terms of time, frequency, and location that you may not need a physical venue. When setting the time and date for your focus group, it is important to consider what would be most convenient for the target audience.
Step 4. Recruit participants
The ideal size for a focus group is 8 to 15 people. If it is more than that it will be likely to not provide proper input. Physical advertising to reach audiences include flyers or adverts posted in targeted locations such as schools, workplaces, post offices, or local newspapers. Online methods could include email campaigns and reaching out to specific attendee types through Facebook groups.
Step 5. Design questions
Focus groups intent is to implement interactive conversation so it’s important to ensure engagement questions for focus groups are open-ended. Starting questions with “how” or “why” or “what”; however, yes-no questions is not an ideal one for focus groups although this might be useful on occasion. The ideal number of questions is between 8 - 12 – limit time for each question to answer is also important.
Step 6. Moderate the group
Ideally, the focus group is conducted by a team consisting of a moderator and an assistant moderator. The moderator guides the discussion within the template and ensures legitimate results as well as reduces bias. Meanwhile, the assistant is responsible for supporting such as engaging audience, taking notes, recording video,etc
Step 7. Analyze
Transcribe the answers from the recording to get the data collection, cutting out anything unnecessary. Enter the answers to each question into a spreadsheet and begin to analyze the data by putting the responses into categories. Finally, write a report outlining the major findings and conclusions, as well as the subsequent recommendations.