Focus Group Discussion: A Vital Element of Market Research

Mar. 16, 2024

Focus Group Discussion: A Vital Element of Market Research

Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) are key to understanding what people really like or dislike about products, services, or ideas. You can picture it as a conversation among a small group of individuals. These individual participants talk about particular topics and share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences. The conversation is guided by a skilled moderator, a person with various duties in the group.

Moreover, FGD is a part of Qualitative Market Research and is used to find the 'whys' behind consumer behaviour. But unlike surveys, FGDs offer depth and context, uncovering not just what people think but why they think that way. With today’s blog, you'll learn everything about focus groups, their types and how they are conducted. 

Understanding the Various Types of Focus Groups

The best part about FGDs is that you can set them up in both offline mode like offices and online mode. 

But, if we go by the needs of the researcher, there are many other types of focus groups like single moderator, dual moderator, mini, Etc. 

● Single Moderator- A single-moderator focus group has around 6-12 participants led by a moderator. This is the most common type of focus group discussion.

● Dual ModeratorIn dual moderator groups, there are two moderators in the group instead of one. The purpose of it is to get the best outcome from the discussion. Mostly, in dual moderators, the first moderator looks for the participation of every person in the group. The second one makes sure that every question is put in the discussion and is discussed well. 

● Mini - A mini FGD is when the participation of the members is cut to 4 or 5 people only. There are two primary reasons for using a mini-group discussion. Firstly, if the topic is very niche-specific and secondly if gathering more participants is not possible due to any reason. 

● Macro- On the other side of the spectrum is the macro group which is a usual FGD. Unlike mini groups, macro groups contain 6-9 participants and a moderator.

These are some important types of Focus Group Discussions in market research. In all these types, the client can be passively involved and look at the discussion too. However, knowing FGD’s types is not enough. You must also know the art of crafting accurate questions for these group discussions. So let's move on to this artistry now.

Crafting Effective Questions for Focus Group Discussions

The questions of an FGD are the direction makers so you must craft the questions very carefully. You shouldn't make questions so obvious and strictly bounded that they leave no space for new entries of thoughts and opinions. 

Otherwise, it will diminish the purpose of doing the research. Below are some considerations that will help you to create a great and effective questionnaire. 

● Begin with open-ended questions

The beginning of the discussion must allow the participants to share their thoughts without feeling constrained. For example, you can ask, what are your initial thoughts about the topic?

● Don't add the polar question

Having on board questions that can be answered with a yes or no is not good for the discussion. It eliminates the flow of thoughts in the meeting. Instead put questions that can't be answered with a yes or no. 

● Probe for details and clarification

To make the discussion more insightful, you must probe deeper into the thoughts of the participants. For example, “can you elaborate on your opinion?”. 

● Try to collect the experiences and perceptions of the participants

With questions like “when did you encounter such a problem”, you can collect the real experiences of the members. It will help you to know the reason behind the perception of the participant. 

● Be neutral and straightforward

While you ask your questions, make sure that the questions do not contain any bias. In simple terms, there should not be any question that forces the member to lie due to social unacceptance of the way they think. It is called social desirability bias. 

Conducting Focus Group Discussions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Conducting a focus group research is indeed a task in itself. But with these six steps, you can conduct the research very efficiently and get the desired results as well.