- A small group of people (usually no more than 10) is brought together to engage in a directed discussion about a specific topic. The purpose of a focus group is to collect information and to use the interaction of the group to “multiply” the information of individual group members.
- Form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards an issue, concept or idea.
- Useful in obtaining detailed, in-depth information
- Open-ended questions give the participants freedom to express a variety of opinions and ideas
- The process allows further probing of answers
- Sessions can generate a lot of information in a short time
- One interviewer with a small group
- Use a small set of questions (5-8 questions)
- Should last about 45 to 60 minutes
- Conversational and loosely structured
- Go to the location of the focus group (especially for low-income populations)
- Best to meet with an existing group or meeting of target population
- Interviewer is flexible and able to add questions as they go
- Setting up the focus group takes time but can build from key informant interviews
- Questions are open-ended such as –
What do you think about...
What is your experience with...
Can you tell me about...
What are some examples of...