Usefulness of Focus Groups in the Arena of Market Research


The organizations make use of the focus group for marketing purposes. It is a common qualitative researching technique. The focus groups are usually made of a few participants belonging to the target market of a certain organization. These participants usually take part in group discussions conducted by a moderator. This qualitative researching technique asks the participants about open-ended responses regarding specific products or services.

Salient Features
A moderator usually asks the participants a series of questions. These questions help him/her understand the thoughts of the participants regarding certain products, brands, images, slogans, concepts or symbols.

Discussion Process
The qualitative data distributed during the discussion are rich in depth and are non-numerical in nature. These are usually textual, pictorial or symbolic data. The researcher guiding the group is known as a moderator. He/she assists the members to engage in free-flowing discussions. The stimulus conversation between the members brings forth ideas, attitudes and experiences regarding specific products or brands. The interaction present between the group members is the key element in this technique.

Usual Topics
The researchers carefully design the questions to be presented in the discussion of a focus group. These questions are supposed to elicit the views of the respondents. The group-moderator usually utilizes a discussion-manual to guide the members efficiently during conversation. The designing of the guide ensures the logical flow of conversation. It also helps the participants stay focused on the subject of discussion.
The guiding manual opens the conversation with introductory questions. These questions are supposed to make participants start conversing with each other and express their feelings. The moderator is supposed to keep the nature of the discussion comfortable enough to let the participants proffer their ideas, opinions and experiences freely. The questions of a focus group start getting informative and penetrating as the discussion progresses.

Main Benefits
The outcome of a conventional researching technique may be unpredictable. The focus groups will help the researchers avail an open feedback through authentic information. This technique will allow the consumers to express their ideas and share their feelings openly in a session of group discussion. A researcher can never gain these untainted feedbacks through quantified researching techniques.

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