How to Conduct Focus Groups

How to Conduct Focus Groups

Focus teams have lengthy been a preferred software in market analysis and have turn into extra standard in consumer analysis within the current previous too. They encompass a gaggle of between 5 and 10 customers who work with a moderator/facilitator/researcher. The moderator will pose questions from a script to the group. Their solutions are recorded, generally by the moderator generally by an observer or observers, after which analyzed and reported on on the finish of the method.

Getting ready for a Focus Group

A spotlight group is, in essence, a big scale interview. Preparation for a spotlight group may be damaged down into two key areas; recruitment of members and creating the script for the moderator to use.

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When it comes to recruiting members all the standard strategies of recruitment may be employed to ship teams of between 5 and 10 members. Whereas, technically, it’s attainable to use bigger teams in observe these are very arduous to facilitate and it typically leads to sure members being left unheard whereas a small group of customers dominates the proceedings. It will be significant to run multiple focus group to see if the query set is delivering constant responses and, in lots of circumstances, to guarantee a consultant pattern of customers is being labored with.

By way of scripting; it’s greatest to determine what the aim of your focus group might be after which design questions to elicit responses that allow you to attain your targets. Typically, it’s best to avoid using main questions. These are questions that make presumptions on behalf of the consumer or alternatively presuppose a given response. For instance; “How a lot time do you spend on Twitter?” presumes that the customers are utilizing Twitter a extra normal query about what social networks customers use is probably going to give extra helpful information. Additionally a query like; “Everybody right here likes Fb, proper?” presupposes that the customers do like Fb. A extra impartial; “Inform me what your emotions are about Fb?” is extra seemingly to yield responses that present a variety of emotions.

The atmosphere for the main focus group must also be ready prior to the occasion going down. It needs to be comfy, ideally it needs to be specified by a circle or horseshoe association and have recording (video or tape) services to allow an additional evaluation of the proceedings as soon as they’ve been accomplished.

Conducting a Focus Group

Conducting a spotlight group is just a matter of asking the questions and recording the responses to these questions. Nevertheless, there are some suggestions for facilitating high-quality focus teams:

  • The moderator ought to start by explaining the aim of the group and what’s anticipated of the group
  • They need to additionally tackle the query of how any information collected or private information might be used and the way it received’t be used
  • Identify badges may help members speak to one another and to the moderator
  • It may be a good suggestion to perform an “ice breaker” train which frees individuals up to speak prior to partaking with scripted questions
  • The moderator shouldn’t be tasked with notice taking. Ideally one or two observers will do that – they need to be launched to the group and their roles defined as a part of the introduction
  • If video or audio recording is to be used – this needs to be defined within the introduction too
  • Refreshments needs to be made accessible and if the main focus group periods are prolonged – common consolation breaks needs to be given
  • The moderator ought to strive to set up a permissive atmosphere through which everybody feels free to contribute
  • If a participant or members begins to dominate proceedings – the moderator ought to gently encourage others to get entangled and rein within the dominant participant(s)
  • The moderator ought to sum up essential factors at handy moments and make sure that they’ve understood them
  • If the session goes for an extended time period – it’s essential to differ the query and reply model script with different workouts (for instance card sorting or prioritization workouts)
  • The moderator’s job is to progress the dialogue and to facilitate it and never to take part within the dialogue itself
  • The moderator could probe for understanding in the event that they really feel that somebody is on the verge of an essential perception
  • The moderator (with the observers) ought to lead a abstract train on the finish to summarize key themes, examine for understanding and ask any questions that the observers really feel can be helpful

Whereas query and reply is the commonest format for brief focus teams different actions could embrace (for selection):

  • Making decisions from lists of options
  • Listing making
  • Fill within the clean workouts
  • Fantasy/daydream workouts
  • Image drawing
  • Function taking part in
  • Card sorting

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Word Taking Hints for Observers

Whereas the moderator is free to make notes that assist them drive the main focus group’s actions ahead and to preserve throughout the time accessible for the group; the observers are tasked with making detailed notes concerning the precise content material of the dialogue.

These notes could embrace:

  • Fascinating quotes. Strive to seize who stated it in addition to what was stated, it will probably assist to use a participant’s initials for this. When you can’t get all the data down it’s widespread to use an ellipsis (…) to present that materials is lacking and desires to be retrieved from recordings.
  • Key factors and themes from any train or query. Once more strive to seize who introduced up these factors with their initials. These type themes that needs to be shared by the observer with the group on the finish of the session.
  • Observe up questions. If there’s one thing that the observer feels is critical and would love clarification on – they need to document it and produce it up at a pure break within the group or on the finish throughout the abstract.
  • Concepts and insights “gentle bulb moments”. The observer may additionally document something that happens to them that they really feel is essential or helpful – this doesn’t have to be primarily based on any explicit remark however their very own perception.
  • The rest. It is perhaps physique language or the extent of ardour/anger and many others. at any given time within the group. If one thing feels vital – it’s in all probability price recording.

It can be helpful for an observer to full a seating plan which exhibits the place every particular person was sitting throughout the train.

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Particular person focus teams are greatest analyzed instantly after they end. It’s when issues are freshest within the minds of the moderator and the observers. Different members could also be introduced in to the evaluation and movies/audios reviewed throughout that course of.

If attainable, a transcript of the audio could also be helpful to put together for later evaluation on the identical time.

A easy report needs to be made from key findings after a person focus group.

As soon as all of your focus teams are full – it’s time to do a meta-analysis. Key themes and concepts from all studies needs to be introduced collectively. Examine and distinction workouts needs to be carried out between teams. Diagrams that assist assist understanding of the info may be ready. Then a report describing the general findings needs to be written and issued to those that want it.

Issues to take into account when analyzing focus teams embrace:

  • Phrases. How are they used, what do they imply, are there similarities between members or totally different teams?
  • Context. What occurred to set off a selected response?
  • Consistency. Was the participant constant all through or have been they influenced by different group members?
  • Frequency of participation. Did somebody dominate the dialogue (it’s not all the time apparent even when the dialogue is closely moderated)? What feedback have been made most frequently? What feedback occurred least? Have been there any feedback you anticipated however which didn’t happen?
  • Depth. What was the depth of feeling put into explicit feedback? Issues that actually matter have a tendency to make individuals passionate, glad, offended, and many others.
  • Specificity. How particular was somebody’s remark? How a lot element did somebody give when probed a few response?

One last factor; it’s straightforward to get too targeted on advantageous element when analyzing the outputs from plenty of focus teams. It may be helpful to take a day’s break (or extra) from the info when you’ve finished the preliminary evaluation after which come again and search for any “massive concepts” which received slowed down within the element.

Writer/Copyright holder: Parhamr. Copyright phrases and licence: CC BY-SA 3.0

The Take Away

Conducting focus teams is straightforward(ish) so long as you’ve a very good moderator and observers. They’re comparatively costly to conduct due to the variety of members concerned and can usually be used to take care of main usability or consumer expertise points for giant teams of customers.

It’s all the time essential to do not forget that individuals say they do issues in a method however may very well do them in one other. Focus teams are superior for figuring out points for additional examination and for soliciting giant quantities of suggestions however it’s your decision to do some extra analysis on the outcomes earlier than treating them as gospel.


Lehigh College presents some further pointers right here –

WikiHow presents an attention-grabbing pictorial information to focus teams right here –

Hero Picture: Writer/Copyright holder: Kate Ter Haar. Copyright phrases and licence: CC BY 2.0

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