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Focus Group

What is a focus group?

A focus group is a group method used, normally in marketing, to gather data on opinions or reactions toward a certain product or application. A focus group is generally comprised of a number of individuals and a moderator. The moderator’s role is to put forward ideas to the group, steer discussion towards relevant topics, and make a note of any significant reactions from the group. Focus groups can often be used to predict product market acceptance and highlight any issues that should be changed before a product goes to market.

What are the different types of focus groups?

The term focus group was coined by Viennese psychologist Ernest Dicther. Nowadays there are many different types of focus groups, including two-way focus groups, dual moderator focus groups, and mini focus groups. Dueling moderator focus groups are also used, in which two moderators bring opposing arguments to the focus group. Online focus groups can also take place, in which the interaction occurs across the web.

Focus groups should normally take place at the beginning of a project, sometimes after an initial brainstorming session. Focus groups are used to predict the reactions of users or consumers. This differs from usability testing in which test participants interact with a prototype or finished product and reactions towards usability are recorded.

How to conduct a focus group

Focus groups often take place after a brainstorming session in which ideas for a new product or marketing campaign are generated. Then a group of people from a targeted product audience are gathered. A moderator puts ideas forward to the group and asks for feedback. Focus groups are most successful when a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere is created. Once the discussion is completed, the results of the focus group should be compiled and reviewed.

Related terms

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