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Focus groups are effective at answering questions during the early stages of a project, sometimes called the ‘alpha’ stage. Particularly with technology developments, you should consider the development of some level of prototype materials such as screen-shots or graphical mock-ups to prompt feedback and discussion within the focus group. (Reeves & Hedberg, 2003, p.175).



Planning the focus group


  • Identify purpose and audience
  • Develop screener documentation
  • Recruit participants
  • Sign up and confirm participants
  • Develop discussion guide
  • Plan session logistics
  • Logical considerations


Some of the logical considerations that need to be taken into account:


  • A comfortable room
  • Light snacks
  • Close proximity to toilets
  • Parking
  • Good set of directions
  • Greeter
  • Have all viewing materials cued up
  • Ensure that presentations are tested to avoid technical glitches
  • Table with name tags
  • Assign note-taker from your team
  • Try to record audio and/or video the session

Financial planning


  • Know your budget in advance and plan the session according to it
  • If you think you might have trouble recruiting willing volunteers, plan your budget to include compensation for time, or prizes as incentives
  • Think of non-financial incentives too - students may be encouraged to join focus groups if they receive a certificate of participation that they can use in their portfolio or resume


Retrieved March 30, 2006 from: http://enhancinged.wgbh.org/process/evaluation/focus.html


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