Using Focus Group in Market Research
The focus group is a qualitative research technique used to collect data through group interaction on a topic or product determined by the researcher. The focus group comprises typically 6 to 10 people who are unfamiliar with each other. The group participants are selected on the basis of screening criteria.
A systematic analysis of the group discussions provides insights as to how a product or a service is perceived by the group members. They are often used as brainstorming sessions for understanding usage and attitudes towards product categories, new product development, concept/storyboard testing, etc.
The focus groups can be used in three ways in the market research design
Where the focus groups are the sole data collection method and they serve as the principal source of data
Supplementary to a survey
Where they are used to enhance an alternative primary data collection i.e. before a survey to identify the issues, or after a survey to expand and illuminate particular issues.
As part of a multi method research design
Where studies use several sources of data collection and no one method determines the use of the others.
The type of research design will depend on the objectives of the research.
A moderator in the focus group asks questions, follows up with more questions, and keeps the conversation on track.
Focus group participants won’t have a chance to see the questions they are being asked.
There are three types of focus group questions
Introduce participants to and make them comfortable with the topic of discussion
To get the core answers of the discussion
Asked to check see if anything was missed in the discussion
1) Give information on how groups of people think or feel about a particular topic or product
2) Give greater insight into why certain opinions are held
3) Help improve the planning and design of new programs
4) Provide a means of evaluating existing programs
5) Produce insights for developing strategies for outreach
Focus groups are unique way to get into the heads of the target market and get feedback.They can be one of the most effective market research activities one can undertake to learn more about market and the best way to reach the customers.