Focus groups involve 5 to 10 target users having a moderated discussion around a research topic. The unique aspect of a focus group comes from participants discussing ideas, attitudes and behaviors with each other. Being part of a group discussion can make people feel more comfortable and it’s possible to expose thoughts or opinions that participants may feel uncomfortable sharing in a 1-1 interview with a researcher. It’s possible to introduce product concepts, visions or ideas to focus groups, but they should never be used to evaluate the detail of a design.
NOTE: While we don't support focus groups in our platform now, we're always working to support new research methods. Stay tuned!
When the method should be used:
Focus groups are best used when gathering insight to inform the overall vision and strategic direction of a product or service. They are great at exploring the big picture concepts to inform strategic decision making.
What are the general perceptions around our product or service?
How do people talk about the product or service in group settings?
What is the general reaction to a broad vision, direction or concept?
Uncover perceptions around a topic that may not come out through an interview
Observe group discussion to identify areas of consensus and conflicting opinion
Gain insight in how people will talk about the topic within a group setting
Rely on what people say and there’s no ability to observe people in a real context
Can result in groupthink, where the individuals confirm with the general view of the group over their own individual beliefs
Dominant personalities or people with very strong views can dominate the group and steer them to agree with their view