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.
How to manage a focus group
Types of Focus Group
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- a practical example,
- tips and recommendations for use,
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- references for further reading,