Focus Groups

Focus Groups

  • 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

How to

  • 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...




Molly Donovan
Community Economic Development State Specialist
Assoc State Specialist
Phone: (603) 862-5046
Office: Cooperative Extension, Nesmith Hall Rm 204C, Durham, NH 03824