Customer Research International

Focus Groups (Qualitative Method)


  • A 2-hour moderated discussion
  • 8-10 respondents
  • Clients observe through one-way mirror
  • Typically conduct 2-6 groups
  • Often incorporates a questionnaire to record hard data
  • Smaller “mini groups” often used


  • Explore and probe new issues, perceptions, etc.
  • Test concepts, creative, messaging, products, and packaging
  • Risk reduction (What if?)
  • Horizon watching (What trends lay ahead?)
  • Getting close to the customer (current, lost and prospective)


  • Requires precise definition of target audience
  • Small non-random sample—data cannot be projected to larger population
  • Conduct a minimum of two groups; 4-6 groups are recommended
  • Often necessitates travel by moderator and client


  • Uncover unknown perceptions, new ideas and potential problems
  • Group dynamic facilitates generation of new ideas
  • Consensus across several groups can mitigate lack of projectable data for decision making