Services: Focus Groups

The Focus Group ExperienceFocus Groups provide an opportunity for in depth discussions with participants of selected demographics. Complex issues that cannot be addressed by other research methods (e.g., quantitative surveys) are good candidates for focus group research.

PR&D plans and conducts Focus Groups to help our clients understand customer needs, attitudes, preferences, and behaviors. Well planned and implemented Focus Groups with carefully selected participants provide opportunities to learn about a variety of issues including:

  • what users of particular products/services need (identifying product specifications)
  • how users experience and use online services, other software, or any other product
  • how users/customers/prospects may respond to online or other software related services, products, or concepts
  • how users/customers may respond to redesigns of products and services
  • how users/customers approach tasks and content issues and how online services and products fit with the users' approaches and concerns (e.g., their "mental models")

At PR&D, we use our expertise in research in general and Focus Groups in particular, to help our clients make business decisions regarding product development, improve the design of user interfaces, and enhance users' experiences and satisfaction with services and products.

Successful Focus Groups require:

  • A clear understanding of the learning objectives. The first step in any research is to have a clear idea of what you hope to learn. We collaborate with our clients in identifying and refining the key questions and learning objectives for Focus Groups.
  • Translation of questions and objectives into a Focus Group Plan. This includes identification and recruitment of participants who are representative of the client's target audience(s). Careful selection of Focus Group participants is key to obtaining accurate and useful information to help guide product development and marketing. A Focus Group Plan also includes the design of a thoughtful discussion guide that helps a moderator focus in on the key questions while providing the flexibility to learn the unexpected.
  • Skillful moderating of group discussions. Moderating Focus Groups goes well beyond reading a prewritten script. In order for Focus Groups to be productive, a moderator must quickly promote a comfortable group atmosphere so that participants freely and honestly express themselves. Moderators must also be ready to depart from the "script" in order to quickly pursue unforeseen opportunities for learning.
  • Analysis and Summary of Focus Group findings. At PR&D, we do more than simply moderate a Focus Group. We help our clients make sense out of the complex qualitative information gathered during Focus Groups. We can summarize and communicate the findings in a format that is most productive and useful for each individual client.