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Some of the most useful tips for running a focus group include determining its purpose, selecting the proper format and maintaining objectivity. A focus group is a tool that a business or product manufacturer typically uses to get the opinions of its most ideal clients or customers. Bringing these customers together to find out how to produce a product or service that fits their needs or how they feel about an existing product or service can provide invaluable information to a business. It takes some time and research to learn how to run a focus group in order to successfully get the answers needed for the questions at hand. Focus groups have helped to bring new products to market and revise existing products before they hit store shelves for years.
The first step in how to run a focus group starts long before bringing the participants to the location where the survey and discussion will take place. One of the primary items that the business running the focus group needs to determine is what outcome they are looking for when the focus group participants leave the room. In other words, the company needs to set an objective or purpose for running the focus group and keep this in mind when designing the questions and activities, and while running the focus group.
Picking the proper format is also important in how to run a focus group that is efficient and effective. It is imperative that each participant in the focus group is encouraged to provide their opinion and does not feel left out in any way. This may require the facilitator of the focus group to ask each individual a question one by one at times, or to illicit a response from someone in the group the facilitator notices is not joining in the discussion.
Objectivity is a key characteristic for the facilitator of the focus group. The facilitator should be careful to not interject any of his or her opinions into the focus group. Even the slightest bias in the wording of the questionnaire or interview can skew the results of the focus group.
The number of focus groups that the company runs is also an important focus to consider in how to run a focus group. Group dynamics can change from group to group, which can affect the overall outcome of the results that come from the focus group. Quantity is also on the side of the business conducting the focus group because it provides them with more of an opportunity to see if statistically the responses or the outcome that came from the focus groups are on par with expectations.