focus groupsFocus groups are a powerful means to evaluate services or test new ideas as it is possible to obtain a great deal of information during a focus group session such as:

  • Information on how groups of people think or feel about a particular topic.
  • A greater insight into why certain opinions are held.
  • Help improve the planning and design of new programs.
  • Provide a means of evaluating existing programs.
  • Produce insights for developing strategies for outreach.

There are three phases in conducting a focus group :

1. Conceptualization – Includes the determination of a purpose, a target, and the development of a plan.
2. Interview – Includes development of questions, moderating skills and participants.
3. Analysis and reporting – Evaluation of the results of the discussions as well as description and presentation of the meaning of the data.

According to the knowledge and expertise of Roe Smithson & Asociados Ltda. some of the advantages of focus groups are:

  • Individuals come together and express diverse views on the topic: useful not only to find the range of views, but also for the participants to learn from each other, and to generate a sense of social cohesion.
  • Relatively easy to undertake. Generally requires less preparation and is comparatively easy to conduct.
  • Provide data more quickly and at lower cost.
  • Researcher can probe for clarification and solicit greater detail as it allows clarification, follow-up questions.
  • Data uses respondents’ own words; can obtain deeper levels of meaning, make important connections, identify subtle nuances.
  • Very flexible; can be used with wide range of topics, individuals, and settings.
  • Results are easy to understand and more accessible to lay audiences or decision-makers than complex statistical analyses of survey data.

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