Facilitating Focus Groups

By: Henshall Centre  08/10/2009
Keywords: focus groups

Delegates learn how to:

· Organise and set up a focus group

· Listen actively · Ask effective questions

· Manage discussions so that everyone has their say and no one person dominates

· Keep discussions on track without biasing the results

· Interpret results from a focus group

· Be a facilitator through practical role play


Introduction What is a focus group? Qualitative research and how it works; its strengths and weaknesses; how focus groups fit in to the wider view of research.

Organising a focus group Selecting delegates. Selecting a venue. Payment. The length of a session. Recording the session. Clarifying your aims. Designing a discussion guide and questions. Establishing ground rules and expectations. Running the group. Closing the session. Delegates work in groups to plan and develop content for focus groups.

What can go wrong? How people behave in groups. Top tips for dealing with those people every facilitator dreads: the silent; the dominant; the garrulous who go off at a tangent; and so on.

Listen up! Remaining non-judgemental. Using open questions. Using closed questions. Delegates work in pairs to explore the impact of listening and non-listening, as well as body language.

Practical role play Each participant takes a a turn running a session with the other delegates as participants. The range of themes for the focus groups is very wide. Each session is interspersed with group discussion and feedback from the course facilitator

Keywords: focus groups