Back to list

CORESO factsheet: Focus groups

What is it?

A focus group or discussion group is a qualitative research technique where a limited number of participants gather to discuss a specific topic. This technique helps to find answers for that group with regard to a product, a service, a concept or notices. The group is led by a facilitator who is trained for that.

Why should we use it?

The objective of using this method is to collect information on the opinions and representations of a selected group of individuals, for example to better identify the needs or to find compromises. Thereby a certain degree of anonymity is respected. This technique encourages diversified opinions and allows to quickly obtain multiple opinions in a short time. As compared to techniques involving larger groups, the focus groups allow to go into more details about a specific question.

Where can we use it?

The possible applications are very wide and the technique can be used in many different situations. Focus groups are often used at the beginning of a project with a limited number of participants to discuss the scope of the project and identify a larger group of stakeholders. Focus groups can also be used to discuss a specific element of a larger system with directly involved stakeholders.

What are the challenges?

In a society where everything is going very fast, it can be difficult to motivate people to spend some time in a focus group. Furthermore, the participants should remain neutral in relation to the opinions of others. The sample must be as representative as possible and based on a genuine motivation to participate.

How we use it at CORESO?

The general collaborative modelling approach offered by CORESO ensures that stakeholders feel involved in a process and see the usefulness of participating in focus groups more easily. We use this technique to gain detailed insights on specific elements of a larger system and at the beginning of projects to identify and delimit the scope of the project. Furthermore, CORESO offers face-to-face and online focus groups allowing to best suit the needs of participants. Our team is made up of facilitators who manage the group and the qualitative data collection.