How do I choose the best focus group methodology?

People interacting in a focus group environment are likely to disclose information that is not normally disclosed in any other environment.

Choosing the best focus group methodology requires careful consideration of how each type of group works and the benefits of each type. There are many methodologies, including two-way focus groups, multiple moderators, nominal, telephone and online. All types of focus group methodology use the power of group discussion to generate the insights that can only be produced by people interacting with one another in some kind of group. Different focus group methodologies produce unique types of information. People interacting in a focus group environment are likely to disclose information that is not normally disclosed by individuals in any other environment.

Face-to-face focus groups benefit more from the power of discussion than online or telephone interactions.

There are benefits to using the various focus group methodologies. For example, a two-way moderator focus group can produce more refined feedback than a single moderator group. The two-way focus group methodology involves using one focus group to observe behavior with a second focus group participating in the discussions. This encourages discussion in the second group and can lead to conclusions that would not have been reached without the observation of the first group. Similar benefits can arise when focus groups use multiple moderators.

Focus groups can attract participants with similar interests.

The nominal group technique is a methodology used by those who want to make decisions quickly, through a voting process, still considering all points of view and opinions on a given subject. All focus group members provide a solution, a list of all possible solutions is made, and group members then rank the solutions from best to worst. The moderator can encourage discussion by all members and try to identify commonalities between the solutions. The benefit of this focus group methodology is that it produces an idea using all the different ideas offered in the group. The final idea is usually better than any single idea considered by the group.

See also  What is holistic development?

The focus group methodology used in telephone and online groups has the distinct advantage of bringing together many different participants, no matter where they are physically located. While lacking the warmth and interaction of a face-to-face meeting, this type of focus group costs much less and can be effective in providing qualitative research. A benefit of a telephone or online focus group is a level of respondent anonymity that yields truthful responses, especially when discussing sensitive or highly personal topics. Other benefits include collecting data from a much larger sample size and reducing the likelihood that peer pressure will affect responses.

Leave a Comment