In the field of market research, focus groups are an effective technique utilized for gaining insights into the target audience’s perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes of a product or service. A focus group is typically conducted in a focus group facility in the form of a group discussion among 6 to 10 respondents facilitated by an experienced moderator. Focus group facilities specialize in creating a unique environment in which respondents feel comfortable and open to sharing their perceptions, opinion, beliefs and attitudes.
Advantages of focus group research:
- Guided, open discussions among respondents can result in a plethora of new ideas which can be very useful for business decision making.
- Experienced moderators have the ability to delve into all areas of interest outlined in the moderator discussion guide while keeping all respondents engaged and on topic.
- Moderators are able to make in the moment changes in order to better facilitate the discussion and garner rich information from respondents.
- Fully equipped focus group facilities enable clients to observe the discussion, at the facility or remotely, in order to better understand the research findings. Clients have the ability to provide the moderator with feedback they may have while on site during or in between groups.
- Non-verbal communication, including expressions or gestures of respondents, can also be observed and provide the researcher with rich insights.
These are advantages unique to focus group and face to face interview research. Qualitative research requires this type of personal interaction with the consumer as non-verbal cues and body language add richness to the verbal information garnered. The Washington post continues to examine the benefits of focus groups to Qualitative research; specifically to small businesses.