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Acquiring focus group data can be difficult because of both the spontaneity of respondents and the environment in which a focus group convenes.
Create a Comfortable Ambiance. Moving on, you should remember that the focus group interview environment should be predominantly comfortable. The key moderator should be open to hear anything and everything. The meeting can have ground rules; however, it shouldn’t stop the participants from being open.
Transcripts, recordings, notes, and memory-based tools often are employed in order to obtain significant information during group discussion.
Focus Groups Have Roots in the Military. Focus groups first gained popularity in the 1950s with the help of sociologist Robert Merton. Together, he and sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld tried evaluating radio programming for the U.S. government’s Office of New Facts and Figures. Responses from listeners were recorded by Lazarsfeld as Merton helped guide listener interviews.
Many people who participate in a focus group are free to speak their mind because they most likely don’t have emotional ties to the rest of the group.
Moderators also are required to have an appropriate background suited to the research and must listen to and be comfortable with others, avoid distraction, and know which questions are key to the proceedings.
Sequence the Questions. When you initiate a focus group interview make sure the questions are carefully sequenced. The focus should be around the specific topic of analysis. Always shoot questions as progressively as possible. Ensure if the participants are comfortable and familiar with the topic. Most important of all is to pose questions in an unstructured and informal manner.
Moderators exhibit efficiency of time usage, encourage respondents to reply, and remain cautious when supplying participants with information about the topic or agenda.
Homogeneous Participants. Participants of a focus group interview should be as homogeneous as possible. They should have something common (at least in terms of the topic in discussion). As potential participants, they should be able to contribute to the conversation productively.
Since the late 20th century, researchers have also used computers to catch key words and manage data.
Group size varies; for example, whereas between 10 and 12 people may be appropriate for a commercial topic group, 6 to 8 people may be more ideal for general social research.
Some researchers may choose to hold more than one discussion group to obtain more information.
When considering who should participate in a discussion group, it is important to contemplate demographics such as gender, age, hierarchy, education, and other things that might influence a person’s opinion.
Be passive. During focus group interviews, you will not be expected to push consensus or agreements. In general, the talk is carried out to gather common experiences and opinions. Successful focus group discussions will definitely help you gain a better insight into different types of experiences and perceptions. To be more precise, no-two focus group interviews can conclude similarly.