How To Run A Focus Group

1300 words - 6 pages

How to Run a Focus Group
* What is a focus group?
A focus group is a small and structured meeting of approximately 8 – 10 people. Discussion revolves around a set of pre-determined topics to give you a set of rich qualitative information. Although focus groups take a while to set up and require a budget to run, once done, they can prove an efficient way of getting detailed information on a subject. Expect a focus group to give you a range of views from your target audience, and to find out why people hold these views. A focus group can take place either before or after your event, depending on what you want to find out. For example, if you want to know what motivates your audience to ...view middle of the document...

Once the question-development process is complete, it is time to identify a place for the focus group to meet. The place should be convenient to participants, as well as provide a point of neutrality. For example, if participants may be against a local ordinance to be discussed, it might not be a good idea to hold the focus group in a government office building. Also consider that the focus group does not have to occur in a formal boardroom setting. A casual atmosphere, such as in someone’s home, will also work. When a venue for the session has been secured, it is a good idea to invite the desired participants as soon as possible, since a series of focus groups can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to complete. The timeframe is heavily dependent on the availability of participants, since the focus group session should be scheduled at a day and time that is ideal for participants. It may be necessary to identify ideal times from each participant and then determine a time that works best for the group. When inviting participants, consider the level of detail provided to them. It is usually a good idea to inform candidates of the goal of the focus group in general terms, but not the specific discussion topics and questions. This will prevent participants from becoming sensitized to the subject matter between the time of the invitation and the session. Providing a basic level of information will satisfy curiosity and ensure that potential participants are interested and willing to participate. After making decisions about the participants, it is time to focus on the session itself. The most useful resource for mapping out the required logistics is through a process agenda. The process agenda is the schedule used by the moderator and others involved in staffing the session and should highlight all materials, activities, and associated timing. The agenda should include all activities from the preparation time needed to organize the meeting space to the debrief session. The following is a general list of items to include in the process agenda. Prepare room and all equipment and supplies Sample tasks: arrange tables as needed, set up flip charts to capture notes, set up tape recorder, set up laptop for note taking, arrange chairs so that participants can see each other, provide name tags Welcome participants as they enter the room. Sample tasks: have attendees sign in, distribute any relevant handouts, direct them to refreshments, invite them to be seated Focus group session formally begins Process overview Sample tasks (by researcher or moderator): welcome participants and thank them for attending, review purpose for the session, introduce moderators, provide a brief overview of the focus group process, establish any ground rules to encourage positive participation, have participants briefly introduce...

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