Focus Group

Focus Groups are non-directed interviews where groups of respondents are encouraged to talk around a subject rather than to make Yes/No answers. Funnel techniques are often used to enable discussion to begin on a broad range of topics and then narrow progressively to a number of specific issues. The skill of the moderator is in developing and guiding the conversation with minimal influence on its content.

Recruitment will depend greatly on the subject and the availability within an area of suitable people. There is a case for teleconferencing if this helps to gather a more suitable group. Six to eight people are typical, more makes it difficult to use or extract all the views.

Groups may also be carried out internally in an organisation to find out views on changes, new policies or verging on brainstorming, new activities and products.

TYPICAL STAGES IN FOCUS GROUPS

A - Preparation
Statement of Issues: The issues involved are outlined so that all participants have a sufficient introduction to the topics under discussion whilst latent creativity is not suffocated by too much.

B - Delivery
Warm-Up Session: To relax the atmosphere and engender the right mood each participant should be allowed to introduce him/herself.
Discussion: A good moderator will create a non-threatening atmosphere which helps generate discussion and ensures that all present do participate and have their say.
Metra groups have covered subject such as exporting, medical diagnostics, DIY, telecoms, building materials, etc.