Focus Groups

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Caribbean Studies Note Sheet
Module 3: Investigating Issues in the Caribbean
Focus Groups
A focus group is a special kind of interview situation that is largely non-quantitative. In focus groups, a researcher gathers together 6 – 12 people in a room or neutral location with a moderator to discuss one or more issues for a set timeframe. The responses during a focus group interview are usually recorded, thus prior consent of all of the participants is required. The group should be homogenous enough to avoid conflicts. Focus groups are useful in explanatory research or to generate new ideas. The participants in a focus group selected because they have certain characteristics in common that relate to the topic of the focus group. Careful and systematic analyses of the discussions provide clues and insights into the issue being investigated by the researcher. The Advantages of Focus Groups

* People may be more candid in their responses than if you asked them a question directly.

* A group setting can make participants more willing to share their insight.

* You can learn from actions, body language and other non-verbal communication if you are able to observe the group.

* You can learn about the perception people have about you, your business and/or your products and services.

* You have an opportunity to get input from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives all at once. The Disadvantages of Focus Groups
Because a focus group can require significantly more time, energy and money than a basic one-on-one interview or pre-formatted survey, there can be some challenges. * It can be difficult to locate enough people who fit into your target audience and are willing to participate.

* A focus group can be costly. You have to reserve and prepare a location and typically pay participants for their time. Plus, it takes time to research questions, find participants and plan the overall process.

* You need to locate a...
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