According to BABOK, a focus group is a way of eliciting ideas and opinions about a specific product, service, or opportunity. It takes place within an interactive group environment. The participants, guided by a trained moderator, share their impressions, preferences, and needs.

This technique is a qualitative research with 6-12 participants. They are prequalified to address a set of questions about a specific topic.

If the group is too homogeneous their responses may not represent the complete set of requirements.

While presenting a few similarities to a brainstorming session, a focus group is a more structured event. It takes the form of a discussion during which feedback is collected. It focuses on the participants’ perspectives.

Typical applications for focus groups

  • Unraveling complex processes from the basics (e.g., a complicated buying process).

  • Identifying customer needs (i.e., where there is a complex interaction between factors and motives).

  • Understanding the use of products.

  • Testing new products (i.e., showing something to people).

  • Developing a concept, perhaps with visual aid so that people can grasp what it would look like.

  • Identifying and analyzing issues of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) for customers, staff, or suppliers.

  • Exploring perceptions of a brand and service elements associated with it.

Why use the focus group technic?

  • Saving time and resources

    • Collects data from multiple individuals in a single session.

    • More efficient than individually interviewing the same number of people.

    • Online focus groups are useful when travel budget is limited and/or participants are geographically split. These can also be recorded for further use.

    Knowing your stakeholders

    • Gets information ‘at the source’.

    • Interactive environment allows participants to develop their point of view with other perspectives.

    • Informs you about people’s attitudes, experiences, and desires.

    ​The information you gather with this technic represents a basis for decision-making and business plans. It helps you to know the needs and motivations of your stakeholders.

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A focus group is an efficient and inexpensive way of obtaining information.

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Interactive participation allows better dialogue between participants and moderators. Interviewed people adopt a better and more global perspective on their way of thinking.

This provides real experience-based information, which is certainly authentic.

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This technic’s flexibility allows it to adapt to your objectives and needs. It also provides a large number of answers with few people as it is very easy to set up.

How to manage a focus group

Types of Focus Group

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