groups are likely to be a strategy in evaluating many larger
projects. This tool provides tips for using focus groups effectively.
focus group is another name for a group interview or group discussion
where the focus is on a particular issue of interest.
groups usually have 6 to 10 people who discuss a topic (with
a facilitator who is often called a moderator).
groups explores issues. (If one is interested in how many people
have a particular view about an issue a survey is the appropriate
groups can range from the very informal to the very formal.
group of parents may meet after school with a staff member
to explore an issue at the school. The staff member facilitates
and takes notes.
group of clients are invited to come to a meeting to explore
how a service can be improved. An independent facilitator runs
the meeting and takes notes of issues emerging.
group of older unemployed people are brought together to explore
the unemployment for older people. They are paid for their
time. An independent facilitator runs the meeting. A scribe
records the discussion. The meeting is recorded and transcripts
are made an analysed.
informal focus groups the key ideas to emerge might be noted
by the facilitator (but there might not be a formal report).
more formal focus groups the conversation may be recorded, transcripts
made and analysed; and a detailed report written.
focus groups are common in community organisations undertaking
planning and evaluation of services and projects.
questions to consider in planning a focus group:
is the purpose of the group?
are issues to be explored?
are the questions that will be asked in the group?
will the meeting be held?
will ideas and issues emerging be recorded?
will the discussion be analysed?
kind of report is required? How will it be used?
an external facilitator where you are asking clients or staff
questions about the quality of services
open ended questions.
useful books are:
Groups : A Practical Guide for Applied Research: Third Edition
Richard A Krueger, Mary Anne Casey
2000 Sage Publications
The Sage Qualitative Research Kit