Research Writing

What is a focus group/example/role of a focus group/How to do

What is a focus group?

The focus group is a research methodology procedure , with a qualitative approach , in a group. In other words, the focus of the procedure is to understand the motives and behaviors of phenomena.

This means that qualitative approach methods seek to understand the why of things.

In general, the definition of a focus group is based on the social interaction between people with common characteristics, to analyze opinions about situations, services and products related to the topic of work .

In other words, the discussion of a group of people about the topic that is the object of study is analyzed .

The discussion has the participation of a moderator, who is a researcher with technical and theoretical background to interpret the responses of participants.

Focus group example

Let’s go to the examples for you to understand better.

Example 1

A dissertation that wants to understand the effects of two types of cereal packaging on their consumers.

Example 2

In addition to a procedure within the scientific method , focus groups are used to conduct market research, such as testing a new product, for example.

Example 3

A research that wants to understand the psychological effects of performing an abortion for women between 20 and 25 years old in the city of Florianópolis

What is the role of a focus group?

The function of the focus group is to collect information on a specific topic, which is of interest in a research .

An interesting point of the focus group is to understand different perspectives on the same issue.

How to do a focus group?

If you want to apply this procedure, check out our guide:

1. Define the search problem

The focus group must address a specific topic and originate from a research problem. This, therefore, is the first step: defining what the research problem is.

2. Choose the participants

The focus group must have the participation of people who are interested in the research. This means that maybe they are people with common characteristics, in a more homogeneous group, or different people, to reach all the variables.

That is, participants may vary by gender, age, profession, socioeconomic level. The only mandatory common fact is that they must make sense for the research.

The methodology indicates that participants do not know each other or have a previous relationship. This is because the fact that they know each other can interfere with manifestations and interactions.

Participants should be chosen based on the following question: who can provide the necessary information for the research?

As a rule, focus groups have 6 to 8 people. It is understood that more than 8 people in a group compromise the quality of the dialogue.

3. Choose observant people

The people who are going to observe the focus group should be people who are knowledgeable about the work.

After all, they must record – with voice recordings and notes – the important information for the research.

4. Choose the person moderator

The moderator must establish and ensure an atmosphere of trust in the group. That’s because people need to feel comfortable to interact with maximum spontaneity.

Good facilitation involves active listening to the moderator. This does not mean that one should remain silent. On the contrary, it should introduce new questions, direct the debate, explore and deepen the discussion.

5. Plan the discussion

You also need to structure a research roadmap, with the questions you need to know to develop the work.

Planning the discussion is important to direct the conversation towards the flow of the work structure. But, on the other hand, the script should not stifle the conversation.

Furthermore, the questions are semi-structured. In other words, you should ask questions with open answers, not just “yes” or “no”.

It is possible that the script undergoes some changes during the meetings. This happens to adjust to the dynamics of the group.

6. Analyze the results

Finally, you should analyze the search results. With participant authorization, you can record the conversation. This will make the analysis much easier.

The objective is, therefore, to verify new perceptions on the subject, with the main objective of answering the research problem.

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