Posted by: Natalie Henry Bennon | April 25, 2014

Focus Groups at Consumer Opinion Services

Jim Weaver of Consumer Opinion Services shed some light tonight on the benefits and drawbacks of focus groups, and the crucial importance of having a good moderator.

I appreciated the strategy involved in thinking about the client’s objectives, and whether a focus group would achieve those objectives. In addition, the researcher must think about the people in the focus group. What will happen if you put these demographics in a room together to talk about this subject? Will it yield trust, and the ability to truly share one’s experiences? If not, a focus group may not be the best route.

When conducting the focus group, the moderator must draw information from everyone. S/he is not afraid to make someone leave the room if needed. S/he elicits responses from everyone. And s/he builds trust, takes his or her time to learn the best ways to communicate with participants, and warms up to controversial topics. I was struck by how observant and socially savvy the moderator must be to learn very quickly about how these participants communicate, and adjust his or her methods as needed.

Finally, I appreciated his candor about writing reports. Like these blog posts, it’s best to keep it short and sweet.


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