Researchers have to get information from target population of the study. They have to get information that best justifies aims of the study. For this purpose, they rely on various research strategies. They may be focus groups, or case studies. They may be interviews, or closed-ended surveys. Suppose the researcher has to collect detailed data from primary source.
In this case, a Focus Group is usually selected. The aim is to get feedback from respondents. Besides this, it also helps in obtaining their perception, and attitude. These are relevant for the study’s aspects. This article intends to provide the pros and cons of using Focus Groups in a research.
What is a Focus Group in the Research?
Focus Groups research strategy provides detailed insights for the study. It is an “In-Depth Interview” technique. The researcher collects required data in the form of group discussions. This information comprises of feelings, opinions, and attitudes of the respondent/consumer. The data collection is done through an interactive session.
It is like the interview technique (Carey and Asbury, 2016). The questions asked are like the interview techniques as well. But differences lie in the feedback. It may be the recording of feelings during an interaction. These interactions can also be within the respondents’ thoughts.
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Types of Focus Group Research Strategies
Focus Group Research Strategy has many types. They are as follows;
- Online Focus Group.
- Two-way Focus Group.
- Client Involvement Focus Groups.
- Dual Moderator Focus Group.
- Participant Moderated Group.
- Mini Focus Group.
- Uses of a Focus Group
Focus groups have many uses in the Research Field. Some of their common uses are as follows;
- Marketers more often use Focus Groups for market research. They use the Focus Group research strategy in gathering information from customers. They gather information about the use, quality, and feedback of their market offerings. The aim is to understand customers’ needs. Besides these aspects, this information provides attitudes and opinions of the consumers. These relate to the aspect of market offerings.
- Research scholars use Focus Group as a research strategy within their studies. The aim is to gather detailed information from participants of the study. The surveys don’t provide information that is in the minds of respondents. Hence, Focus Groups provide detailed insights of the participants.
- A Focus Group is usually preferred for obtaining information on social issues.
- Main building blocks of the Focus Group research strategy
According to a dissertation help firm, the moderator and participants are building blocks in Focus Group sessions. Their descriptions are as follows;
A moderator is a confident person in the Focus Group Research Strategy. This person leads target population of the study through different questions. A moderator is an unbiased person in the Focus Group. He is neutral throughout the data collection process. The moderator may be the researcher himself. He/she may also be a professional hired through external sources.
Participants are main pillars in the data collection process. It isn’t easy to select the most suitable respondents for a research. The researcher selects them based on aims of the study. They may be the people who have greater knowledge on the topic under study. The researcher must carefully narrow down suitable population for the study.
- Is Focus Group Research Strategy used for Quantitative, Qualitative, or both methods?
Quantitative research method gathers numeric information. It provides information on quantitative aspects of the study. The qualitative research method relies on gathering detailed insights. It provides subjective information on the aspects of a study. Focus Group research strategy provides detailed information on topic of the study. It is more useful in qualitative research methods (Mishra, 2016). Hence, the use of Focus Groups in qualitative method is suitable.
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- Pros of using Focus Group in the Research
The researcher uses Focus Group to collect detailed information from the participants. Some pros of using Focus Group are as follows;
- Focus Group research strategy is easy to conduct. Its initiated as a normal discussion.
- It is the best strategy. This is because it helps understand feelings, and opinions of the target population.
- It is a flexible research strategy approach. Its adjusted, and amended as per the needs of participants.
- It obtains immediate information from respondents of the study.
- It is convenient for applying analysis techniques to the collected data.
- It assists in collecting feedbacks from a large population group.
- It is efficient in providing data for the research study.
- It is used for collecting information from a large sample size.
- It provides information on the “How”, and “Why” of respondents. It highlights how and why respondents think about a company’s market offering in such a way.
- Cons of using Focus Group in the Research
Focus Group has some cons. These are highlighted through its application within the Research Field. Some of its drawbacks are as follows;
- Its conducted in a non-natural setting.
- The researcher has less control over the study aspects.
- Sometimes it isn’t easy to analyses large sampled data.
- It takes time in interpreting the results.
- Many of the study’s aspects are usually imaginary, and hypothetical.
- It involves high cost.
- The interview must ensure good skills’ demonstration. If not, the data collection will lose its meaning.
Focus Group provides detailed, and in-depth information. Researcher collects required data in the form of group discussions. This information comprises of feelings, opinions, and attitudes of the respondent/consumer. The information is complete and meaningful. The use of a focus group in research strategy has many pros.
The main pros are that it provides information on the “How” and “Why” factors. Besides this, it is a flexible approach. But the cons are that it’s conducted in a non-natural setting. Many aspects in the study are also imaginary, and hypothetical. Still, its benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Hence, researchers and marketers must use it. They should do so by evaluating both pros and cons of this research strategy.