Focus Group Interview

Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: January 22, 2018

What is Focus Group Interview?

Focus group interview is a tool for qualitative market research where a group of people are selected and asked about their opinion or perceptions about a particular topic. The environment is interactive where the participants are free to discuss with each other.

Characteristics of a focus group interview:

• There is a trained moderator and a small group of respondents

• Participants are normally similar in terms or either demographics or psychographics or buying behaviour/attitudes

• Participants are unknown to each other

Advantages of focus group interview in marketing:

• It is a tool for acquiring feedback about products or topics

• It provides information about various aspects of a product that is yet to be launched in the market so that the product can be modified

• It gives insight into why certain opinions or perceptions are the way they are

• Easy to conduct, low cost and less time to get results

• Flexible; also since the moderator and the respondents are in direct communication, better insights

Disadvantages of focus group interviews:

• The conclusions from one group cannot be applied to other groups

• Valid information about the individuals cannot be obtained

• Things change before and after the discussion, and this cannot be accounted for

• Data analysis is difficult because of the possibility of randomness or chaos in the discussion

• The moderator should be properly trained, otherwise the results may not be what was intended

• Inability to generalize the results to a larger population

• No control over the group and what information will be produced

Focus group interviews are conducted in three phases:

• Conceptualization: Determination of the purpose, respondent set, plan, etc.

• Interview: Developing questions based on the participant group

• Analysis and Reporting: Analyse the results from the discussion and document them, for interpretation purposes

When and why are focus groups used?

• When there is a new product to be launched

• When depth of opinion is more important

• When a written survey cannot bring out the necessary insights

• When a larger amount of information is needed in a short span of time

• When everyday language and culture of common people is of interest and this cannot be explored by professionals

For example, there are companies which specialize in online focus groups which are gaining importance nowadays because of problems like distance and finding a convenient common time and place for all the participants.


This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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