Focus Group Interviews

A focus group interview is a group session method used to explore insights of target audiences about a specific topic. Social marketing researchers and advertisers use this method to derive the perceptions, beliefs, language, and interests of an audience to whom a product or service would be marketed. The focus group interview usually involves eight to ten people. Using a detailed discussion outline, a moderator keeps the group session within the appropriate time limits but gives considerable latitude to participants to respond spontaneously to a set of general or specific questions. The moderator has the opportunity to probe and gain in-depth insight from the interviews. These sessions are often video- or audiotaped.

Particularly used in the concept development stage of the communications development process, focus group interviews help health communications/ media planners identify key concepts that may trigger awareness and interests in participation. This method is often used to complement population-based, representative-sample surveys on specific topics. Qualitative information is issued, in combination with the survey data, to make judgments about the perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors of the target population and subgroups within it.

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