Focus groups

What exactly is a focus group?

Focus groups are small groups of consumers who meet to discuss a particular topic, issue, service or product. They do this under the guidance of a moderator.

How do you select the people in a focus group?

We carefully select respondents to make sure they are broadly typical of your target audience. Sometimes views are likely to diverge sharply between different demographics. Or perhaps long parts of the discussion would be irrelevant to some people. In that case, it can be more useful to conduct separate discussions with different gender, age or usage groups.

How long does a focus group last?

A typical focus group is between one and a half to two hours’ long.

What does the moderator do?

The moderator guides the discussion. They encourage everyone to give their views. They also promote an exchange of opinions between group members. Conversation is free-ranging. For the most part the participants lead the discussion rather than following a series of pre-determined questions.

Our moderators are skilled in drawing out people’s thoughts. Our staff also make sure they understand the issues before the focus group. This allows them to delve deeper in any points made should that be necessary.

Can focus groups be asked to look at example material?

Yes, focus groups are an excellent way to get feedback on new packaging, advertising or brochures. We encourage the use of this ‘stimulus material’ to promote discussion.

Can you set focus groups tasks to do?

Yes, we can set the group tasks. This often encourages them to discuss the issue amongst themselves and reach a consensus view. This is extremely useful in understanding reasons and the strength of feeling on a particular subject.

Can I observe the focus groups myself?

Yes, we can set up an observation area for clients. This is usually behind one way mirrors.

Do you record the focus groups?

Yes, we either use audio or video recordings to record the group discussion. This is essential when we produce the final report. Exact quotes from the participants can often express a viewpoint more powerfully than any summary.

Next steps

We have vast experience in moderating focus groups across many fields and sectors. To talk about how focus groups could help your business or organisation, call us on 0800 6523740, email us at info@pcpmarketresearch.com, or fill in our enquiry form.

  • The whole experience was completely painless. PCP didn’t just take the brief from me – they adapted my questionnaire, made some useful comments and were especially insightful with their conclusions. They are big enough to know what they are doing but small enough to give a really good personal service. I would give them 10 out 10. I will continue to use them and have already recommended them to others.

    Chris DavisCEO of Graduate Coach
  • We have commissioned several surveys with PCP in the last few years. PCP are very flexible and able to meet tight deadlines. They always go the extra mile to ensure that we get what we need from each project.

    Alistair Lockhart (Insight Director)Get Savvy, Leeds
  • We used PCP to collect a large bank of data for a project on charitable giving. From first contact through to delivery the service was reliable, fast and efficient. They clearly have a great understanding of the research process and were able to provide useful insights at every stage of the process. The end result was a high reliable dataset, delivered ahead of schedule, which has already put to good use in various projects.

    Dr David Hart (Principal Lecturer & Programme Director) Newcastle Business School, University of Northumbria
  • Working with PCP is a pleasure – they are my ‘go to’ research company. Peter in particular is always very helpful and happy to answer numerous questions. He offers his expertise so that you feel in safe hands throughout working with them. The whole team are polite, flexible and always happy to help. On many occasions I have given very tight deadlines and PCP has never let me down. I would definitely recommend working with them.

    Emma PriceConsultant at Claremont Comms

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