Focus Group

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Qualitative research
Definition- it is a research, which is undertaken using an unstructured research, approach with a small number of carefully selected individuals to produce non-quantifiable insights into behavior, motivations and attitudes.

Qualitative and quantitative research as two distinctly separate bodies of research – many studies encompass both approaches, with qualitative research being used to explore and understand attitudes and behavior, and quantitative research being used to measure how widespread these attitudes and behaviors are.

Qualitative research can be used when managers need exploratory research. Managers use exploratory research to understand customer attitudes, emotions, preferences and behaviors. It can also be used in new product development or creative development research. Individual depth interview

It is an interview that is conducted face-to-face, in which the subject matter of the interview is explored in detail using an unstructured and flexible approach. As with all qualitative research, depth interviews are used to develop a deeper understanding d of consumer attitudes and the reasons behind specific behaviors. This understanding is achieved through responding to an individual’s comments with extensive probing. The flexibility of this probing sets this interview approach apart from oter questionnaire-type interviews. Although there is an agenda of topics to be covered, the interviewers will use their knowledge of the research objectives, the information gained from other interviews and the comments of the respondent to select which parts of the dialogue with the respondent to explore further, which to ignore, and which to return to later in the interview. Not only is the depth interview flexible, it is also evolutionary in nature.

Focus group
Focus groups are depth interviews undertaken with a group of respondents. It is different to individual interviews in the number of respondents and interaction between participants. Several factors affect focus group

Recruitment is a very critical element of group discussions and has long been a major quality-control issue in the UK marketing research industry. Group discussions are unlikely to achieve their research objectives if the wrong types of participant are recruited. The research proposal will set out the type of participants required for a group discussion. For example, if Colgate is researching a new type of toothpaste for a sensitive teeth. Their specification may request respondents who regularly purchase toothpaste with sensitive protection function. Respondents age (for example 25-64), living area, etc. Managers can also use Screening questionnaire to identify suitable respondents for its group discussion. The area that respondents are recruited normally should be in street or telephone interviews.

The location that group discussions were held should let respondents feel comfortable. Locations such as viewing rooms or hotels for business should have no special facilities apart from audio type recorder. Food or snacks will also be provided to assist in relaxing the atmosphere.

Time to hold the discussion should be well scheduled. Times should be available to target group. For example, outside working hours, times of available public transport etc.

The number of groups should be 3-4. As the 3rd and 4th group can used to exam atypical views. * There are problems involving focus groups. For example in the case of overlapping dialogues from different speakers which may affect the transcript. * Moderators must learn to control such people and encourage those less willing to speak up and let their opinions be heard.

Comparing to traditional group discussion, online group discussion or chat room is becoming popular. Apart from lower cost and possible time-saving, it can allow more people to be involved in observing the research, particularly if it is being carried out in a different region or...
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