Focus group Basics

Conducting a Focus group will make you excited in many ways as you need to play the role of a moderator for the discussion, meet new people,get to know many perspectives of an idea, assimilate participants ideas into quantifiable data to be used in projects in a useful manner etc.Moderator is a critical role that will have a Major impact on the success & failure of the Focus group.A Focus group necessarily means a group of people involved in a constructive discussion focusing on a particular topic with the aid of a moderator.A focus group when planned has different phases as follows.

1. Preparation & Planning phase
This phase is one of the most important in all the phases as it will lead to the decision the selection of the participants,Location for conducting the focus groups,supplementary preparation for tea,coffee breaks,introduction of the focus groups, questions to ask etc.

2. Preparing Questions

The structure of the questions should be from easy first & a little tough later.Avoid framing questions which are difficult to answer for the participants or makes them uncomfortable.A ground research on the participants background - cultural,educational,religion,work will help a long way in framing comfortable & productive answers from the participants.

3. Introduction to participants

Make a short one page introduction note & distribute among the Focus group participants.This note may include the following sections
  • Welcome note: We welcome you for the session to discuss the important/higher end features that should be made available to Travel portal users.Our the Focus group team extends a warm welcome to you, we hope that you will have a great time with us.
  • Schedule: The session will be for 1 hour and it will have the below sessions

Sessions Time

X 10AM

Y 10:30AM
Break 10:30AM to 10:45 AM
Z 10:45 AM to 11:15

4. Starting the Sessions & asking questions

Start the session with a quick self introduction & session objective introduction.Ask easy questions first, listen to the participants when they say,encourage them to participate in the discussion.Avoid participants from taking control of the situation in a professional manner, since not all the participants will be taking part actively so they can also get chance to contribute.

5. Take notes & recordings
Take notes while participants are giving their ideas.You can go for recorded sessions with prior permissions form participants either in audio or visual.If you are going for such recording include a disclaimer that the recording is for getting the ideas in a clear manner so any important information is not missed.It will not be shared to third parties.

6. End the focus groups

When you have finished your focus group, thank the participants for taking part and leave a contact name and number in case they wish to follow up any of the issues that have been raised during the discussion.If possible provide them the summary of the report if they want through e-mail at later stages.In the end distribute token of thanks if you have planned for the focus group.

In this way a focus group is being conducted, there may be some variations depending from project to project requirements.

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