Focus Group

Topics: Focus group, Qualitative research, Quantitative research Pages: 6 (1919 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Focus group is a qualitative technique used mostly in marketing research and also other areas of research. This technique is used to collect primary data. This document consists of information about focus group. The main objective of this assignment was to investigate how focus groups techniques are used to collect primary data about the phenomenon at hand in the real world. The research method used was Google scholar for academic journals. The campus library database was also used for more academic journals and textbooks from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) different libraries. The main problem experienced in the completion of this document was that most textbooks about this studied topic were outdated in the author’s campus. Hence, different campuses of NMMU were visited and the right textbooks were found. This document presents a review of the literature on focus groups. It continues with an empirical study on organisational corruption in secondary schools. Also included, is the reference list of all cited sources as well as an annexure.

In the collection of primary data there are two research methods that can be of use, quantitative and qualitative methods, which can both be subdivided into idiosyncratic primary data collection methods. Because the main focus of this document is on focus groups, therefore only qualitative techniques will be mentioned which are in-depth interviews, projective techniques and focus groups. Seymour (2004:04) defines focus groups (F.G) as “group of interacting individuals having some common interest or characteristics, brought together by a moderator, who uses the group and its interactions as a way to gain information about a specific or focused issue”. This technique has been utilised in many fields to collect primary data as mentioned above and its characteristics are discussed in the following section.

When F.G are considered to be used in a certain research study then there are characteristics which have to be taken into account, which are: group size, group composition, physical setting, moderator, recording tools and length of group discussion. Below it is a detailed review on each of the above mentioned characteristics of F.G. 2.1.1 Group size

When determining to embark on F.G one has to think about the size (number) of that certain F.G. Despite the confusion that can be created by different sources stating a different number of possible group sizes. The research of F.G can be undertaken with a group of 4- 12 people (Tong, Sainsbury & Craig 2007:351). Large F.G group size can jeopardise the discussion as it may be difficult to handle the discussion, even so the group size depends on the complexity of the research study. 2.1.2 Group composition

After the group size had been decided then the group composition must be considered as well. All participants taking part in a F.G must be homogeneous in the interest of the studied phenomenon (Malhotra & Birks 2006:160). Participants with similar characteristics, which the study is about, make the discussion easier and nicely flowing. 2.1.3 Physical setting

When choosing the venue to carry out a F.G it is imperative that the chosen venue must also meet the aspects of the phenomenon at hand and of the participants. Daymon and Holloway (2002:194) state that “choosing the right environment for traditional focus groups plays a vital role as it can attract freely expressed opinions from the participants”.

2.1.4 Moderator
In the success of F.G moderators play a vital role. It is of crucial role that moderators in F.G keep the environment safe so participants can freely express their opinions and most importantly must use probe questions; such requires a great experience from the moderator (Hague, P., Hague, N. & Morgan 2004:53). Therefore, the moderator ought to possess skills such as creating chemistry with the participants,...
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