focus group facilitator

How does your company conduct market research? Do you avoid valuable resources like focus groups because of a lack of clarity about their benefit, time constraints, or failed attempts in the past? Those challenges may be due to having tried to design and execute the focus group on your own. By bringing in a third-party professional facilitator, you can solve common focus group issues and ensure a more successful outcome.

First, let’s review the basics to clarify how a focus group can help you meet large and small goals.

What is a focus group?

A focus group is a form of qualitative research where research findings center on thoughts shared by a carefully selected group of attendees, rather than a large-scale collection of inputs. A small group of people is interviewed regarding a particular topic. The interviewer in charge of the focus group asks attendees questions to learn their beliefs, opinions, attitudes and perceptions on the desired topic. While a survey may also be used for a similar result, the interviewer in charge of a focus group can delve deeper into responses to gather more information about the desired outcome.

A focus group most often includes six to 10 people and a moderator who leads the interviews and helps to steer the conversation obtaining the desired information from the attendees. Interaction is essential because attendees often enter a focus group with undecided thoughts and rely on the interactive line of questioning to explore their thoughts and feelings.

Why conduct focus groups?

Fortune adroitly describes the importance of focus groups as market research at the ground level. Simply taking steps to organize a focus group can provide a competitive advantage. You show the marketplace that you care about listening, and that you’re a responsive company. Sampling your desired audience for real-time feedback is a key to shaping decision-making for your business. You may be seeking to understand market size, customer interest, or to learn more about conversion decisions of key audiences.

What are some types of focus groups?

The Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching defines six main types of focus groups:

  1. Single focus groups: Most common type of focus groups where all participants interact and discuss the topic together.
  2. Two-way focus groups: This involves two separate groups where one group actively discusses the topic, and the other group observes and discusses their observations.
  3. Dual moderator focus groups: Two people act as moderators where one is responsible for leading the interview while another ensures that all questions are asked and further prompted accordingly.
  4. Dueling moderator focus groups: Two people interview in conjunction while taking opposing sides on an issue to encourage discussion.
  5. Respondent moderator focus group: Along with the primary moderator one attendee temporarily is prompted to act as the interviewing warranting a new direction for conversation.
  6. Mini focus group: This format is similar to a single focus group with fewer attendees (4 to 5 instead of the more common 6 to 10).

Each of these types of focus groups relies heavily on one key element – a moderator (or moderators) who facilitate the discussion and interview process. This person requires the skills to lead this influential and interactive interview process with efficiency and purpose, as well as with an engaging personality that will motivate the participants to contribute.

Comparing Focus Groups: With vs. Without a Professional Facilitator

Goal Driven:

  • Without a professional facilitator, the research is less likely to improve your understanding of the desired audience.
  • With a professional facilitator, success is measured by the shared experience of the host (you), the facilitator, and your participants – ensuring cost effective results.

Setting:

  • Without a professional facilitator, those close to the discussion topic will show bias and influence the decision.
  • With a professional facilitator, the debate is likely to be more open and free of bias.

Structure:

  • Without a professional facilitator, choosing the right type of focus group can be difficult if you lack the understanding of what kinds of outcomes are likely to come from each.
  • With a professional facilitator, experience and proven success with various types of focus groups can guide you toward the best option(s) for your goals.

Organization and Flow:

  • Without a professional facilitator, the leader may lack the skills to direct the conversation and keep it on track.
  • With a professional facilitator, a leader trained to pick up subtle signs can lead the conversation to generate the most useful insights.

It’s time to take the next step in gaining valuable research results. A professional facilitator is available to moderate and consult on your next focus group. Please contact us, chat us, or call us at 1-877-212-2361.