What are the benefits of focus groups?

What are the benefits of focus groups?

A focus group is a form of qualitative research, usually involving 6-8 respondents. They are recruited to participate in a discussion to understand their opinions and attitudes towards particular products or services. Focus groups last between 1-2 hours and are a useful method for gathering rich, insightful information to inform future strategies and decision making within a company.

The key benefits of carrying out focus groups are outlined below:

 

The client can listen to respondents ‘first hand’

Face-to-face focus groups are carried out behind a one-way mirror; this allows the research team at B2B International and the client to observe the moderator and the respondents as they discuss the topics in question. This is particularly helpful for the client, who is able to listen to attitudes and opinions directly from respondents, clearing any doubt that the voice of the customer may be diluted in an aggregated report.

They are also able to tweak the line of questioning for any upcoming groups as well as ask follow-up questions should they wish, depending on the outcomes of the discussion. This is the perfect opportunity for the ‘when’, ‘what’how’ and ‘why’ questions. Listening to the groups in real time also means that the client is not waiting up to two weeks for a report of findings, but rather has a good indication of the results and how this relates to the research objectives immediately following the groups.

benefits of focus groups

 

Group outputs are insightful & exhaustive

Whilst the views of the masses are not obtained in focus groups, fewer respondents rather allows you to obtain detailed and thought-provoking discussions around the objectives of the research. The conversations are more in depth, uncovering the reasons behind certain opinions and feelings. This type of research really allows you to get to the crux behind specific emotions and attitudes towards a topic.

In addition, it allows for the observation of non-verbal communication, which may appear in a more subtle manner. For example, respondents’ facial expressions or body language towards the discussion or new products that are being tested. Face to face focus groups allow interpretation of reactions, as well as conversations, giving a greater amount of data to be analysed and assessed against the research objectives.

 

Group ideas are generated

The group setting is relaxed and inclusive, involving 6-8 people sat in a circle, and naturally, respondents are more inclined to provide open, honest opinions to answers as there is no pressure to answer a particular one, in comparison to individual interviews. As a result, different perspectives and opinions emerge from the group, giving detailed, rich insights for an organisation, helping to provide comprehensive answers to their research objectives.

To further this, group interaction encourages brainstorming of ideas; it allows the group to draw upon completely new thoughts and recommendations for the organisation, which may not have been thought of before. More so than in an online survey or telephone interview, the moderator will seek further clarity on any point raised and steer the discussion as they see fit, digging deeper into any interesting points raised. Similarly, this will highlight the significance of certain aspects which may have previously been overlooked or seen as insignificant.