Focus groups are basically discussions within a group that rely on group member interaction heavily as well as the relationship between the respondents and the researcher. For over 30 years now, focus groups have been the primary form to gather qualitative data in market research.
Focus group surveys are a form of survey tool whereby respondents are gathered from a targeted population and placed inside a group to be interviewed interactively. The focus group participants are allowed to talk freely about their opinions and ideas in discussions towards the purpose of the survey. The focus group can be gathered physically in person or on the phone in a conference-call like setting.
Famous market expert and psychologist, Ernest Dichter, created the term 'focus group'. There are many pros, benefits, and strengths to using the using the survey method for the focus group as well as cons drawbacks and weaknesses.
What You Learn from Focus Groups Surveys
- You learn how groups of people feel and think on a specific subject.
- You learn more on the reasoning behind certain opinions.
- You learn how to design and plan new programs.
- You learn how to evaluate existing programs.
- You learn how to create insights to develop strategies for outreach.
Online survey software, mail surveys and telephone surveys are ideal for getting answers to quantitative questions since surveys are made for the purpose of representing the needs, opinions, and behaviors of entire populations.
What Businesses Can Use Focus Groups Surveys For
- To explore new ideas for products or services
- Understand the brand image of a company
- Test how effective marketing and advertising concepts and materials are
- Differentiate the perceived weaknesses and strengths of competitors
- Gain insights into buying decisions
- Conduct product testing
Focus Group Surveys Advantages
A benefit of a focus group survey and survey software is that it is ideal for specialized or unique groups of people, such as people who only use English as their second language, young children, and people whose literacy level is lower. Another benefit is that the respondents are able to answer and build on other respondents responses to improve that data that is being collected.
Focus Group Survey Disadvantages
A big disadvantage of this type of survey is that the results of the survey might not completely represent the opinion of the entire target population. Furthermore, in order to handle situations that might come about from focus group interactions, the facilitator needs to be trained well.
Since taking advantage of group interactions is the main idea behind focus groups, it's essential to use information gathered from the entire group and not from an individual level. If you are looking to learn how an individual participant is progressing towards their own goals, focus groups are not a great way to do so. Plus, focus groups typically consist of a smaller number of participants; therefore, you can't assume their opinions and perceptions will be the same as other groups.