What are focus groups? Focus groups are group interviews They produce data and insights you may not get in single interviews or surveys, because of dynamics of group interaction.They are particularly useful when used during the developmental phase of a project.
StrengthsA large amount of info may be collected in a short period of time because moderator may direct discussion.Provides direct evidence about similarities and differences in participants’ opinions and experiences.Can help a researcher learn about consensus and diversity Good for exploratory research, for “brainstorming,” for offering new perspectives and ideas the researcher may not have considered.
WeaknessesResearcher may exert too much influence because of visible, prominent role. Group think – a tendency toward conformity. Dealing with dominant and timid participantsDiscussion about controversial topics, or topics that participants are expert in, can get away from the researcher
Method overview Purposive sample of six to 10, and over‐recruit Structured or unstructured? Depends on research needs. Consider “funnel” approach Sessions last around 90 minutes (rough estimate)Lay ground rules (no side discussions, one at a time, etc.).Start with ice‐breaker question / May start with “exposure” Track back and forth between what group mentions and what researcher needs to know – look for overlap Consider getting participants to write down responses Moderator can write down points as well on board