Focus groups are a qualitative research method that collects information during a thorough group discussion. Groups usually comprise 4-12 people that, with the help of a specially-trained facilitator, interact with each other about a specific issue (the "focus": a topic, product, advertising campaign, etc.) of interest for the researcher or client. In the last decade this method has been increasingly employed in social research, in that it is particularly useful for investigating opinions, attitudes, motives, and behaviours in both academic and practical contexts (market research, within organisations such as schools, businesses, and health establishments). For its very nature, the method is particularly appropriate for complex, multi-method studies or for research having exploratory or developmental aims. The volume illustrates, with the aid of numerous examples, the operational aspects of the methods: characteristics, variants (such as mini-groups, virtual focus groups, etc.), strong and weak points, areas of use, and rules of thumb.
Contents: 1. The Focus Group - 2. Planning and Conducting a Focus Group - 3. Asking Questions - 4. The Facilitator - 5. Data Analysis - Bibliographical References
Vanda Lucia Zammuner teaches Interview and Questionnaire Techniques and Psychology of Emotions in the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Padua.