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Focus Groups Methodology

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Focus Groups Methodology

Focus group methodology is the term used in market research to explain the role of focus groups, their purpose, how they are carried out and the processes that are followed during the focus group to achieve the objectives. It also incorporates how they are different from regular group discussions

As a qualitative research method, the main objective of a focus group is to get an insight into the understanding of an issue, topic or brand from the perspective of the participants of the group. The groups are typically made up of 6-8 people, who are all of the same profile, therefore sharing a similar outlook on the topic, and similar attitudes to their lifestyle.  The participants are chosen because they can be able to provide invaluable insight into the research questions, from a unique perspective. Due to the relatively small number of people in the group, in-depth, focussed discussions are able to take place, providing valuable detail about the respondents’ views. Each focus group typically lasts between one and two hours.

In focus group methodology, a moderator guides the discussion, while prompting the participants to discuss the topic and share their opinions. The moderator’s role is to facilitate discussion, assisting the participants in answering the questions, while it is crucial that they do not lead participants towards specific answers. Focus groups allow researchers to listen to respondents, and is an excellent way of learning from them. In market research, the moderators require a great deal of skill to be able to objectively record the opinions and attitudes of participants towards the brand/product of discussion.

The group interaction dynamic is very unique to focus group methodology, and the processes involved allow greater clarification of the participant’s point of view, making focus groups potentially more valuable than individual interviews.

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