This is a popular qualitative research technique which we regularly employ to identify and understand perceptions, motivations, attitudes, opinions, behaviour and intentions of target audiences. We have also found it to be a great tool for eliciting reactions to different stimuli including communications and product/service or marketing ideas.
Both mini-groups (comprising 4-5 people) and full groups (6-9 people) are used lasting between 1 and 2 hours or even longer depending on study parameters. The aim is to foster a rich, free-flowing discussion between the group members. Influential factors can be the recruiters used and their recruitment approach, respondent mix and their characteristics, venue used, moderator skill, topic at hand, questions asked and how, stimuli presented, length of discussion, incentives, refreshments and more.
We use specialist group facilities, commercial venues (usually Conference Rooms) and in-home settings depending on requirements. After the groups are conducted, interpretation and reporting of the results is critical. We don’t just report what we hear but also consider mannerisms, tone of voice, facial expressions, inflexion and any other signs detected to help us develop meaningful insights.
Most of the focus groups we have conducted are face to face, but the technique can also work in an online environment. We have experience of this and can readily arrange such focus groups.