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Focus Groups Best Practices

Focus Groups are groups of individuals who are gathered to observe a new product or discuss a particular topic in order to give organizations a chance to preview customer reactions. They are also used to gauge employee reactions to an organization’s change program.

More about Focus Groups

Description of Focus Groups

In order to obtain the most essential information from a Focus Group, six steps should be followed:

1) State the purpose of the focus group. Outline what should be accomplished and clearly communicate to selected focus group participants how valuable their opinions are. It is also important to obtain support from top executives to provide sponsorship for the groups.

2) Outline the flow of the discussion. Indicate what questions should be asked for each subject discussed. It is advisable to ask targeted questions regarding each subject so that enough specific information can be generated so that follow-up actions are clear.

3) Determine who will lead the focus group. Focus Groups should generally not be conducted by a manager whose employees are participants in the group as that may inhibit honest responses. The facilitator should be impartial. It is also advised to have a separate individual to take notes so as to not split the focus of the facilitator. Focus Groups can also be video or audio recorded.

4) Define the group’s composition. There is no consensus on the optimal Focus Group size; it is specific to the organization and the topic being discussed. It is important to compose your Focus Group of a prototypical group of individuals affected by the change program. All participants should remain anonymous and involvement in the Focus Group can be required or voluntary.

5) Facilitate the group. Before beginning the session, the facilitator should go over the purpose and outline of the Focus Group and explain the rules. Participants should be given time to look over the questions before the discussion actually begins. Facilitators should remain engaged and actively listen to each participant in addition to observing body language, keep the discussion on topic, and clarify any statements made by participants that were not well explained or well received by the group. Participants should be compensated for the time in some way and should be kept abreast of how their responses will be used.

6) Analyze the results. The facilitator and scribe should meet and generate the key themes and results of the session. These should be presented as responses to the questions posed and relayed to the managers so that appropriate action can be taken.

Praxie's Online Focus Groups Tools & Templates

Unlike most traditional Focus Groups templates in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, Praxie’s online Focus Groups collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. 

The discussion guide for Focus Groups is often developed in a living document. The notes from the session can be handwritten or typed in a document and disseminated in presentation format. Focus Groups are another important mechanism to identify key impacts, issues and success factors to manage during the change process. Along with interviews, Focus Groups help you understand your stakeholders’ concerns so that you can develop change management strategies to address them, and ensure your program can be implemented successfully. Use Praxie’s template to: 

  • Manage and track your Focus Group process. 
  • Identify Focus Group participants and questions. 
  • Capture key insights from each Focus Group held. 

Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.