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The Big Focus of Focus Groups

Focus Groups are research that involve clients, researchers and participants, and are recruited in a number of ways.

If you’re reading this somewhere along the way you saw a link or picture that spurred you to learn more about Strategic Research Associates, market research, or our focus groups.

But what is a focus group? The simple answer is—it’s a group discussion on a topic for the purposes of research.

Focus groups are a chance for people to come together, discuss a topic, and get paid for expressing their opinions. But focus groups go beyond that. As much as they are a chance for you to express your opinions, they are an opportunity for companies to hear those opinions. Our clients take what you and other group members say and apply it to their company. By participating in a focus group allows you influence major decisions about products or services you, or others in your community, may use in the future. Focus groups go to the source of the information (you, the consumer) to address specific questions companies or researchers are looking to answer.

The reason for the group discussion setting is to discover the opinions of individuals in a group setting and to see how people discuss these topics; to get at the details behind an opinion and find why they are held. There’s even a term for research looking for this kind of detail, qualitative research. Qualitative research is more interested in qualities, details, and opinions (as opposed to numbers). The goal is to find not only the what of opinions but the why—which is why focus groups fit so squarely in this category. The Research Question is when to use qualitative research as opposed to its opposite, quantitative research (which is about quantifying large numbers of results).

Research companies, like Strategic Research Associates, are hired by a client to conduct research. In the case of focus groups this means we gather people together and discuss a topic. The topic can range anywhere from a discussion about the upsides and drawbacks of product box design, to a conversation about how a service should work, to a mock jury deliberation about a legal case; there is a vast spectrum of potential topics. Based on what topic the client wishes to discuss they provide specific requirements of who they would like to involve in their group (such as people who have used their product previously). Next the research company recruits people to participate and hosts the focus group. When it’s time for the group recruited participants come to the designated location, where they may listen to a short presentation, or start immediately in the discussion (guided by a few questions). The group itself can last anywhere from a 45 minute chat to an all day experience, it really all depends on the topic. As a research participant you will always know how much time you are committing. We always have some snacks available for group members (including cookies, yum!) and for longer groups or depending on the time of day we may provide meals.

During the group there are often clients seated in a viewing area behind a one way mirror taking notes and absorbing the participant feedback, but don’t worry we always remind you at the beginning of the group when there are people back there.

At the end of the group participants are paid for their time, and as the person who often gives people their incentives (as we call them) I can tell you it is amazing how many people comment on how much they enjoyed taking part in the group and would love to do another one! Just check out our Facebook reviews to verify people love our groups.

If you’ve participated in one of our groups consider rating us; if you haven’t, check out the rest of our About site to learn more, or sign up today! And come back in two weeks to learn more about Focus groups, we’ll be talking about Whose Focus, Whose Group? The people who make Focus Grops Succeed.

Focus Groups are research that involve clients, researchers and participants, and are recruited in a number of ways.

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