While focus groups have been a popular research method for many decades, and a very valuable research tool, they are double-edged swords. The method looks deceptively simple: Invite 4-12 people to a research location, hold a controlled discussion for 2 hours, and write a report. However, despite their simplicity, focus groups have gremlins hiding around dozens of corners. Researchers who are unaware of the potential problems in conducting a focus group may face disaster and embarrassment. Even the simplest focus group topic can become impossible to handle under certain circumstances. (Wimmer & Dominick)
Focus groups can be used as a qualitative or quantitative methodology. The approach depends on the type of questioning involved and the sample size used for the project.
Focus groups can be used for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, such things as:
Content investigation for questionnaire design
Testing TV spots
Testing billboards and other print media
Testing on-air personalities
Testing topicals and other promos
Preliminary investigations of perceived problems
Roger has moderated nearly 3,000 focus groups in his career with respondents of all ages and for a variety of media an non-media topics. His focus group approach has been described by several media industry professionals as "the best in the research industry."
Contact: Roger Wimmer