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FOCUS GROUPS

A fascinating way to benefit from the diversity and creativity
of consumer groups.
                                       T: +49 621 150 4876
Dr. Brigitte Holzhauer, Dipl. Psych.
Uhlandstr. 20 D- 68167 Mannheim        M: +49 160 980 622 88
                                                               mail: mail@holzhauerei.de
                                                               web: www.holzhauerei.de     www.holzhauerei.de
FOCUS GROUPS - WHAT ARE THEY?

   A special kind of group discussion
       On a specific research topic under the guidance of a moderator
       Compact, short, goal-oriented and narrowly focused on the
       research topic
       … as opposed to longer, exploratory or creative workshops
   A proven method of questioning in the market and public opinion
   research
       Objectives: Analysis of opinions, attitudes and behavior of target
       groups regarding the subject of discussion
       ... both of the individual participants as well as the group as a
       whole (e.g. group processes, interactions, attitude changes)
   Online and offline used in various ways in order to gain insights into
   the attitudes and feelings of consumers

                                                          www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                            2
SOME METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS

   Localized within qualitative research methodology
       Small sample sizes, quota sampling
       Open interview situation, approximation to everyday
       communication processes
       "Interpretive paradigm": Understanding why people think
       and act the way they do
   Non-standardized form of questioning
       Discursive exchange of views among the group participants
       Free moderation within in the context a topic guide
       Adaptation of themes according to the culture of the group
       Usually video recording
       Content analysis


                                                       www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                      3
APPLICATION EXAMPLES

   As a pretest: to explore a (new) research field, as input for
   quantitative surveys
   For consumer insight: to understand the every day lives of target
   groups and their deeper motives
   As test for products, services, policies, public relations, promotions…
   In the context of innovation management
        Reviewing opportunities and barriers of newly developed
        concepts, products or offers
        Integrating creativity, needs and attitudes of consumers or
        other relevant audiences
        Refining concepts, products or offers together with group
        participants



                                                           www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                             4
DIFFERENT SETTINGS

WHICH PARTICIPANTS?                                            HOW MANY PARTICIPANTS?
• Lead users, trendsetters,                                    • Normal group size of 8 to
  heavy or light users?                                          10 participants?
• Own clients and/or customers                                 • Or mini groups with 4 to 6
  of competitors?                                                particapants?
• Participants with certain socio-                             • Or large group events with
  demographic characteristics                                    even more than 100 people?
  or attitudes?


                                                               WHAT INFRASTRUCTURE?
WHAT METHODS?                                                  • Online or offlline?
• Verbal discussion?                                           • Teststudio or meeting
• Creative and projective                                        rooms of a hotel? Own
  methods? Visual methods            WHAT DURATION?              conference rooms?
  such as collages?                  • Concise 1,5 to 2 hour   • Catering?
• Dynamic group games?                 focus groups?           • Recording: audio, video,
• Test and stimulus materials?       • Extensive 3 to 4 hour     distance transmission?
                                       creative groups or
                                       even longer?
                                                                   www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                                            5
BEHAVIOR OF THE MODERATOR

   Moderate, but do not join in the discussion: Hold back your own
   opinion and avoid influencing the respondents
   Communicate non-directive with regard to the contents, but
   direcitive in relation to the form
       As moderator, you are responsible for the timing and setting as well
       as for the adequate work on the research questions
   Establish a relaxed atmosphere that stimulates open discussion
       Create a positive emotional attitude to each group member
       Ensure positive, equitable interaction of participants
       Deepen the results through clarification and summary statements




                                                               www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                              6
TYPICAL PROJECT PROCEDURE
       Preparation                        Execution                      Analysis
                                                                   Basis of analysis: video
                                     Implementation of group
                                                                   or audio recordings,
 Development of a research           discussion in a comfortable
                                                                   transcripts or protocols
 design: methodology, target         location or online in the
 groups, number of partici-          intended time                 Content analysis with
 pants per group, composition                                      enrichment and
                                     Moderation by an
 of groups, timing and costs                                       clarification by verbatims
                                     experienced moderator, who
                                                                   (original sound)
 Development of a topic guide        is adapted to the specific
                                     target group                  Optionally: analysis of
 Organization: locaction, dates,
                                                                   group dynamics or of
 recording technology, viewing       Informed consent of the
                                                                   creative, visual findings
 facilities for clients, catering,   participants on data
                                                                   (collages, etc.)
 test material ...                   protection (video or audio
                                     recording, observation)       Reporting: verbal and
 Recruitment of participants
                                                                   graphical illustration of
 for the group discussion            Video or audio recording,
                                                                   findings – but usually
                                     transcript or protocol
                                                                   no numbers!



                                                                   www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                                                7
ADVANTAGES OF FOCUS GROUPS

   Close to everyday communication: no artificial "question-and-answer
   games"
   Collection of opinions in the context of social communication
   Mutual stimulation of the group participants promotes the diversity
   of views
   Quick overview of the variability of opinions, values, conflicts
   concerning the research topic
   Allows to look behind the facade of rational argumentation:
   emotional backgrounds, hidden assumptions
   Compact and goal-oriented process: central arguments and
   controversies are quickly apparent




                                                        www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                         8
DISADVANTAGES OF FOCUS GROUPS

   Not statistically representative
   Small sample sizes, so quantitative conclusions are questionable
   Individual opinions can possibly not be fully taken into account
   during the group process
   Group dynamics: leadership, dominant or silent participants,
   possible bias due to social desirability
   High effort: especially through difficult recruitment of participants,
   time-consuming analysis of videos or transcripts…




                                                            www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                            9
SELECTED GERMAN LITERATURE

    Kühn, Thomas / Koschel, Kay-Volker (2011): Gruppendiskussionen: Ein
    Praxis-Handbuch. Wiesbaden
    Naderer, Gabriele / Balzer, Eva (2011): Qualitative Marktforschung in
    Theorie und Praxis. Grundlagen, Methoden und Anwendungen. Wiesbaden.
    Bohnsack, Ralf / Przyborski, Aglaja / Schäffer Burkhard (2010): Das
    Gruppendiskussionsverfahren in der Forschungspraxis. 2. Aufl., Opladen
    BVM EDITION (2007): Standortbestimmung und Gütemerkmale qualitativer
    Markt- und Sozialforschung. BVM Berufsverband Deutscher Markt- und
    Sozialforscher e.V. (Hrsg.). Berlin.
    Lamnek, Siegfried (2005): Gruppendiskussion. Theorie und Praxis.
    2. Aufl., Weinheim.
    Mayring, Philipp (2002): Einführung in die qualitative Sozialforschung. Eine
    Anleitung zum qualitativen Denken. 5. Aufl., Weinheim.




                                                               www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                                   10
WWW.HOLZHAUEREI.DE
                     DR. BRIGITTE HOLZHAUER

                      The Holzhauerei (Dr. Brigitte Holzhauer)
                      offers market research and business
                      coaching - and best on issues involving both.     MARKET RESEARCH
                      As a market researcher, I have over 20 years          Qualitative research: focus
                      of professional experience and an excellent           groups, creative groups,
                      base in qualitative and quantitative research         indepth interviews
                      methodology as well as extensive industry             Quantitative research: survey
                      and project experiences.                              instruments, multivariate
                      As a psychologist and business coach,                 statistical analysis
                      I consult clients to bring their strengths and    BUSINESS COACHING
                      values together with the needs of their               Coaching: entrepreneur, start-
                      markets and customers.                                up, career coaching
                      In addition, I am a lecturer at the Deutsche          Consulting: target groups,
                      Universität für Weiterbildung (DUW, Berlin) for       trends, innovations,
                      market research & managerial statistics               positioning

                                                                                  www.holzhauerei.de
                                                                                                         11

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Holzhauer_focus groups in market research_2013

  • 1. FOCUS GROUPS A fascinating way to benefit from the diversity and creativity of consumer groups. T: +49 621 150 4876 Dr. Brigitte Holzhauer, Dipl. Psych. Uhlandstr. 20 D- 68167 Mannheim M: +49 160 980 622 88 mail: mail@holzhauerei.de web: www.holzhauerei.de www.holzhauerei.de
  • 2. FOCUS GROUPS - WHAT ARE THEY? A special kind of group discussion On a specific research topic under the guidance of a moderator Compact, short, goal-oriented and narrowly focused on the research topic … as opposed to longer, exploratory or creative workshops A proven method of questioning in the market and public opinion research Objectives: Analysis of opinions, attitudes and behavior of target groups regarding the subject of discussion ... both of the individual participants as well as the group as a whole (e.g. group processes, interactions, attitude changes) Online and offline used in various ways in order to gain insights into the attitudes and feelings of consumers www.holzhauerei.de 2
  • 3. SOME METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS Localized within qualitative research methodology Small sample sizes, quota sampling Open interview situation, approximation to everyday communication processes "Interpretive paradigm": Understanding why people think and act the way they do Non-standardized form of questioning Discursive exchange of views among the group participants Free moderation within in the context a topic guide Adaptation of themes according to the culture of the group Usually video recording Content analysis www.holzhauerei.de 3
  • 4. APPLICATION EXAMPLES As a pretest: to explore a (new) research field, as input for quantitative surveys For consumer insight: to understand the every day lives of target groups and their deeper motives As test for products, services, policies, public relations, promotions… In the context of innovation management Reviewing opportunities and barriers of newly developed concepts, products or offers Integrating creativity, needs and attitudes of consumers or other relevant audiences Refining concepts, products or offers together with group participants www.holzhauerei.de 4
  • 5. DIFFERENT SETTINGS WHICH PARTICIPANTS? HOW MANY PARTICIPANTS? • Lead users, trendsetters, • Normal group size of 8 to heavy or light users? 10 participants? • Own clients and/or customers • Or mini groups with 4 to 6 of competitors? particapants? • Participants with certain socio- • Or large group events with demographic characteristics even more than 100 people? or attitudes? WHAT INFRASTRUCTURE? WHAT METHODS? • Online or offlline? • Verbal discussion? • Teststudio or meeting • Creative and projective rooms of a hotel? Own methods? Visual methods WHAT DURATION? conference rooms? such as collages? • Concise 1,5 to 2 hour • Catering? • Dynamic group games? focus groups? • Recording: audio, video, • Test and stimulus materials? • Extensive 3 to 4 hour distance transmission? creative groups or even longer? www.holzhauerei.de 5
  • 6. BEHAVIOR OF THE MODERATOR Moderate, but do not join in the discussion: Hold back your own opinion and avoid influencing the respondents Communicate non-directive with regard to the contents, but direcitive in relation to the form As moderator, you are responsible for the timing and setting as well as for the adequate work on the research questions Establish a relaxed atmosphere that stimulates open discussion Create a positive emotional attitude to each group member Ensure positive, equitable interaction of participants Deepen the results through clarification and summary statements www.holzhauerei.de 6
  • 7. TYPICAL PROJECT PROCEDURE Preparation Execution Analysis Basis of analysis: video Implementation of group or audio recordings, Development of a research discussion in a comfortable transcripts or protocols design: methodology, target location or online in the groups, number of partici- intended time Content analysis with pants per group, composition enrichment and Moderation by an of groups, timing and costs clarification by verbatims experienced moderator, who (original sound) Development of a topic guide is adapted to the specific target group Optionally: analysis of Organization: locaction, dates, group dynamics or of recording technology, viewing Informed consent of the creative, visual findings facilities for clients, catering, participants on data (collages, etc.) test material ... protection (video or audio recording, observation) Reporting: verbal and Recruitment of participants graphical illustration of for the group discussion Video or audio recording, findings – but usually transcript or protocol no numbers! www.holzhauerei.de 7
  • 8. ADVANTAGES OF FOCUS GROUPS Close to everyday communication: no artificial "question-and-answer games" Collection of opinions in the context of social communication Mutual stimulation of the group participants promotes the diversity of views Quick overview of the variability of opinions, values, conflicts concerning the research topic Allows to look behind the facade of rational argumentation: emotional backgrounds, hidden assumptions Compact and goal-oriented process: central arguments and controversies are quickly apparent www.holzhauerei.de 8
  • 9. DISADVANTAGES OF FOCUS GROUPS Not statistically representative Small sample sizes, so quantitative conclusions are questionable Individual opinions can possibly not be fully taken into account during the group process Group dynamics: leadership, dominant or silent participants, possible bias due to social desirability High effort: especially through difficult recruitment of participants, time-consuming analysis of videos or transcripts… www.holzhauerei.de 9
  • 10. SELECTED GERMAN LITERATURE Kühn, Thomas / Koschel, Kay-Volker (2011): Gruppendiskussionen: Ein Praxis-Handbuch. Wiesbaden Naderer, Gabriele / Balzer, Eva (2011): Qualitative Marktforschung in Theorie und Praxis. Grundlagen, Methoden und Anwendungen. Wiesbaden. Bohnsack, Ralf / Przyborski, Aglaja / Schäffer Burkhard (2010): Das Gruppendiskussionsverfahren in der Forschungspraxis. 2. Aufl., Opladen BVM EDITION (2007): Standortbestimmung und Gütemerkmale qualitativer Markt- und Sozialforschung. BVM Berufsverband Deutscher Markt- und Sozialforscher e.V. (Hrsg.). Berlin. Lamnek, Siegfried (2005): Gruppendiskussion. Theorie und Praxis. 2. Aufl., Weinheim. Mayring, Philipp (2002): Einführung in die qualitative Sozialforschung. Eine Anleitung zum qualitativen Denken. 5. Aufl., Weinheim. www.holzhauerei.de 10
  • 11. WWW.HOLZHAUEREI.DE DR. BRIGITTE HOLZHAUER The Holzhauerei (Dr. Brigitte Holzhauer) offers market research and business coaching - and best on issues involving both. MARKET RESEARCH As a market researcher, I have over 20 years Qualitative research: focus of professional experience and an excellent groups, creative groups, base in qualitative and quantitative research indepth interviews methodology as well as extensive industry Quantitative research: survey and project experiences. instruments, multivariate As a psychologist and business coach, statistical analysis I consult clients to bring their strengths and BUSINESS COACHING values together with the needs of their Coaching: entrepreneur, start- markets and customers. up, career coaching In addition, I am a lecturer at the Deutsche Consulting: target groups, Universität für Weiterbildung (DUW, Berlin) for trends, innovations, market research & managerial statistics positioning www.holzhauerei.de 11