Focus Group: Definition
A Focus group is usually a small group of participants that were selected to take part in the discussion of a particular topic. Focus groups are used in many settings such as Social and Marketing settings. Focus group is a qualitative research method.
Focus Group: A little History
The phrase “Focus group” was coined by the Austian-American Ernest Dichter which was specialized in Marketing Psychology. He made a focus group of children who watched television advertisements and then he videotaped their reactions to these ads. The results of this Focus group led to the invention of “Barbie”. He specifically noted that: “What they wanted was someone sexy looking, someone that they wanted to grow up to be like,”“Long legs, big breasts, glamorous.”.
Focus Group: Properties
The members of a Focus Group usually are some selected participants based on some specific personal characteristics they have. For example: a company has developed a new biological product and it would like to find how to build its marketing strategy. In order to find this information, it must find participants that they will have a sensitive biological personality / attitude. These participants can consist a focus group for this aim.
Focus Group: Single way or Two-way
The Single-way Focus group or the traditional Focus Group is a group of selected people that participate in the discussion of a particular topic. A Two-way Focus group is consisted from the Traditional Focus Group as well by an additional group of selected people that actively observe and discuss the behaviors and attitudes of the Traditional Focus Group.
Focus Group: Two Moderators
A Focus group can have two Moderators. The first Moderator is responsible that the discussion is smoothly progressed. The second Moderator is responsible to check if all topics of interest were covered.
Focus Group: Dueling Moderators
A Focus group can have two Moderators which deliberately take polar positions, opposite sides in order to develop group dynamics further.
Focus Group: Respondent moderator
A moderator can select a respondent from the group members that temporarily will act as Moderator in order to develop group dynamics further.
Focus Group: Conformity
A main disadvantage of Focus group and generally, in all types of groups, is conformity. That is, members of a group can develop the same opinions. The personality of each member as well how moderators utilize group discussion can influence the levels of conformity.
Ernest Dichter and Focus Group