A Focus Group is a discussion led by a trained moderator among a small number of respondents recruited to meet predefined characteristics of a market segment (product usage, profession, demographics). They are typically held with 8 respondents and last two hours, but other formats are also used. They are usually conducted in a research facility with a one way mirror on one wall to enable clients to view the group from an adjacent room or via video streaming.

Focus groups can be effective in exploring the public’s image of an organization, understanding the dynamics of decision making, identifying strengths and weaknesses of service experiences, and evaluating reactions to advertising campaigns and other forms of marketing communications.

The dynamic nature of a focus group discussion engages respondents more actively than is possible in a more structured survey. There are opportunities to probe responses beyond initial surface level answers, to observe non-verbal communication, and to benefit from the synergy among respondents as they build on each other’s ideas.