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running the group

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago
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Running the focus group

There are many aspects to running a successful focus group.


How to get started with your focus group session

  • Be sure to set ground rules for the group, such as there is no right or wrong answer; jot down ideas as they come to you; respect other participants' right to speak.
  • STAY ON TIME! It is important to plan out your time and control the discussion in order to complete the agenda you have planned for.
  • If there is not enough time to cover all questions , send a follow-up email, although this is less desirable.


Role of the Moderator


A focus group moderator is also sometimes referred to as a facilitator. The effectiveness of the focus group moderator is the key to a successful focus group.



The moderator’s job is to keep the group “focused” and to generate a lively and productive discussion (American Statistical Association, 1998).


As well as being able to plan the group, the moderator needs to have effective leadership skills as he/she will need to recognise how to obtain a balanced input from a diverse group of people.


Choosing a moderator


The moderator also needs good communication skills, and needs to be able to encourage a variety of levels of communication amongst participants in the focus group and this communication may include:

- asking open questions

- promoting debate

- probe for further details

- encourage participant-partcipant discussion rather than participant-moderator discussion

- run group exercise

(Gibbs, 1997; Kitzinger, 1995)


Although the moderator ‘leads’ the focus group their role is only to keep the discussion on track and should not influence the opinions of the group, this has been referred to as “structured eavesdropping” (Kitzinger, 1995).


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