A focus group discussion is an interaction among one or more experts and more than one individual with the intention of gathering data. In focus group discussion investigators interview people with common qualities or experience for eliciting ideas, thoughts and perceptions about particular subject areas or certain issues associated with an area of interest.
It is a helpful technique which enables you to study the reaction of consumers to a company’s new product or to the company’s strategies.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Groups in Research
Following are the main advantages of focus group discussion in research:
- It is an inexpensive and fast method of acquiring valuable data.
- Co-workers and friends are more comfortable in voicing views in each other’s company than on their own with the researcher.
- Participants are given a chance to reflect or react to the viewpoint of others with which they may disagree or of which they’re unaware.
- The dynamic discussion between participants stimulates their thoughts and reminds them of their own thoughts regarding the research subject.
- All individuals along with the researcher have a chance to ask questions, and these will produce more information when compared with individual interviews.
- Informants can build on the answers of others.
- The researcher can clarify clashes among participants and ask about these diverse opinions.
Following are the main disadvantages of focus group discussion in research:
- The researcher has trouble controlling discussion and managing the process in comparison to individual interview.
- A few individuals could possibly be introverts while others take control of the debate and impact the end result, or possibly even introduce bias.
- The group climate can hinder or fail to energize the individual, or it can be livelier and produce more data.
- Recording data can present difficulties; it is actually not possible to record when so many participants are speaking at the same time. Also tape recorders may record just those who are closer.
- Data analysis could be time consuming and challenging task.
- Focus group discussions usually are not replicable. The validity and dependability of the findings are tough to ascertain on their own.
Focus groups are employed to collect data to evaluate a new idea. In the business world, focus groups are employed to test new products by making a panel of potential end-users and permitting them to “kick the tires” prior to the item is offered in the market. It typically gives instant suggestions for the enhancement of specific products or ideas.
Additionally they help identify the product needs of end-user plus the other requirements not addressed by the company and its rivals. Furthermore, focus groups give insights on the present position of the company’s rivals in the mind of the consumer, along with measuring the response of consumers to a product’s design, presentation, cost and message.
When compared with individual interviews, they usually are not as efficient in covering maximum depth on a specific problem. Participants may be hesitant to express their thoughts. So there are a number of advantages and disadvantages of focus groups in research.