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Focus group

Rationale and uses of focus groups

❶He has been a college marketing professor since Types of Focus Groups — The following resources briefly describe different types of focus groups.

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When you bring a group of people together to talk about a brand, the tendency exists for influential group members to affect the expressions of others within the group. Additionally, consumers are often more reluctant to express negative ideas in a face-to-face setting than in a more indirect research format when they know the company is conducting research.

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since He has been a college marketing professor since Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. Skip to main content. Qualitative Research A focus group is qualitative research because it asks participants for open-ended responses conveying thoughts or feelings.

Focus Group Features Within a focus group, a moderator poses a series of questions intended to gain insight about the way the group views the brand, product and related images, slogans, concepts or symbols. Benefits A focus group is generally more useful when outcomes of research are very unpredictable and the researcher is looking for more open feedback, as opposed to comparisons of potential results as in a quantified research method. Drawbacks "Groupthink" is a primary concern with focus groups.

About the Author Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since The Focus Group Research Method. Small Business - Chron. Depending on which text editor you're pasting into, you might have to add the italics to the site name. A focus group is a small, but demographically diverse group of people and whose reactions are studied especially in market research or political analysis in guided or open discussions about a new product or something else to determine the reactions that can be expected from a larger population.

Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. During this process, the researcher either takes notes or records the vital points he or she is getting from the group. Researchers should select members of the focus group carefully for effective and authoritative responses. Focus groups have a long history and were used [ by whom? In library and information science, when the library intends to work on its collection, the library consults the users who are the reason the library was established.

This is an important process in meeting the needs of the users. In the social sciences and urban planning , focus groups allow interviewers to study people in a more natural conversation pattern than typically occurs in a one-to-one interview.

In combination with participant observation , they can be used for learning about groups and their patterns of interaction. An advantage is their fairly low cost compared to surveys , as one can get results relatively quickly and increase the sample size of a report by talking with several people at once. This counteracts the extractive nature of research which seeks to "mine" participants for data with no benefit for them as criticized by various authors, and in particular Indigenous-oriented authors and others sharing similar sentiments , as explained, for example, by Romm In the world of marketing , focus groups are seen as an important tool for acquiring feedback regarding new products, as well as various other topics.

In marketing, focus groups are usually used in the early stages of product or concept development, when organizations are trying to create an overall direction for marketing initiative.

This can provide valuable information about the potential market acceptance of the product. A focus group is an interview, conducted by a trained moderator among a small group of respondents.

The interview is conducted in an informal and natural way where respondents are free to give views from any aspect. Focus groups are similar to, but should not be confused with in-depth interviews. The moderator uses a discussion guide that has been prepared in advance of the focus group to guide the discussion. Generally the discussion goes from overall impressions of a brand or product category and becomes more specific as the discussion progresses.

Participants are recruited on the basis of similar demographics, psychographics, buying attitudes, or behaviors. Representatives of the stake holder often a design team in the case of testing acceptance on a new product are not involved in the focus group, not to bias the exercise. However they may attend the focus group, either through video cameras, or by watching through a one way mirror. Traditional focus groups can provide accurate information, and are less expensive than other forms of traditional marketing research.

There can be significant costs however: This would require a considerable expenditure in travel and lodging expenses. Additionally, the site of a traditional focus group may or may not be in a locale convenient to a specific client, so client representatives may have to incur travel and lodging expenses as well. Today, using audience response keypads to collect questionnaire answers is the new industry trend.

A fundamental difficulty with focus groups and other forms of qualitative research is the issue of observer dependency: Focus groups are "One shot case studies" especially if they are measuring a property-disposition relationship within the social sciences, unless they are repeated. Another issue is with the setting itself. Another issue with the focus group setting is the lack of anonymity. With all of the other participants, there can not be any guarantee of confidentiality.

Douglas Rushkoff [13] argues that focus groups are often useless, and frequently cause more trouble than they are intended to solve, with focus groups often aiming to please rather than offering their own opinions or evaluations, and with data often cherry picked to support a foregone conclusion.

Rushkoff cites the disastrous introduction of New Coke in the s as a vivid example of focus group analysis gone bad. The analysis of focus group data presents both challenges and opportunities when compared to other types of qualitative data.

Some authors [14] have suggested that data should be analysed in the same manner as interview data, while others have suggested that the unique features of focus group data — particularly the opportunity that it provides to observe interactions between group members - means that distinctive forms of analysis should be used. Data analysis can take place at the level of the individual or the group.


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Focus group methods emerged in the s with the work of Merton and Fiske who used focus groups to conduct audience studies. Characteristics of focus groups The design of focus group research will vary based on the research question being studied.

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Focus groups are a form of qualitative research that is commonly used in product marketing and marketing research, but it is a popular method within sociology as well. During a focus group, a group of individuals -- usually people -- is brought together in a room .

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While discussion is constrained, the written format can help with reporting on the discussion. Textbooks for conducting FGD are available, such as: Krueger, R.A. () Focus Groups: A practical guide for applied research. Sage, UK. Morgan, D.L. () Focus Group as qualitative research. Sage, UK. FOCUS GROUP AS A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD: Advantages and Disadvantages The research in management, especially in marketing, frequently considers Focus Group and other qualitative methods as exploratory tools, its results needing to be verified .

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A focus group is a qualitative research method. In fact, there are three primary methods of qualitative research. They are, Focus Groups; The theory is group discussions stimulate dynamic conversations, which leads to discovery, exploration, direction and depth about topics. A focus group is a small, but demographically diverse group of people and whose reactions are studied especially in market research or political analysis in guided or open discussions about a new product or something else to determine the reactions that can be expected from a larger population.