Focus groups

Competency Group: Business

Type: Process

Description: A focus group is a form of primary market research, where a group of people are asked about their opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. In the world of marketing, focus groups are seen as an important tool for acquiring feedback regarding new products, as well as various topics. In particular, focus groups allow companies wishing to develop, package, name, or test market a new product, to discuss, view, and/or test the new product before it is made available to the public.

Citation for DescriptionFocus group. (2011). Retrieved from Wikipedia,

Units: Data which can be used to profile the voice of the customer

Advantages: Group Dynamics play an important role, as one comment may trigger many more. Relatively less time required than one-on-one interviews. More entertaining for everyone involved

Limitations: One or two people can dominate the discussion, and there is limited time per participant. It is difficult to schedule high level people to take part in a focus group.

Regulations: When United States Federal funding is used for focus group projects, protocols must be subject to review from an Institutional Review Board to ensure there are adequate human subjects protections in place. For more information, see:

Target Audience: Top management, Marketing, R&D

Relevant to Universal Design: Yes

Stages and Steps: 1.1, 1.2, 4.11

Free Resource: Debus, M. (n.d.). Handbook for excellence in focus group research. Retrieved from

Free Resource: Emergency Capacity Building Project. (2011). The good enough guide: How to conduct a focus group. Retrieved from