A focus group discussion (FGD) is a good way to gather together people from similar backgrounds or experiences to discuss a specific topic of interest. The group of participants is guided by a moderator (or group facilitator) who introduces topics for discussion and helps the group to participate in a lively and natural discussion amongst themselves.
The focus group, or group interviewing, is a research strategy for understanding people's attitudes and behavior. From 6 to 12 people are interviewed simultaneously.
A moderator leading the respondents in a relatively unstructured discussion about the topic under investigation.
The focus group technique has four defining characteristics
Focus groups involve people.
The people possess certain characteristics and are recruited to share a quality or characteristic of interest to the researcher.
Focus groups usually provide qualitative data. Data from focus groups are used to enhance understanding and to reveal a wide range of opinions, some of which the researcher might not expect
In most cases, they are not used to test hypotheses or to generalize to a population.
As the name implies, focus groups have a focused discussion. Most of the questions to be asked are predetermined, the sequence of questions is established, and the questions are structured to further the goal of the research.
The strength of FGD relies on allowing the participants to agree or disagree with each other so that it provides an insight into how a group thinks about an issues.
FGD sessions need to be prepared carefully through identifying the main objective(s) of the meeting, developing key questions, developing an agenda, and planning how to record the session. The next step is to identify and invite suitable discussion participants; the ideal number is between six and eight.
FGDs can be also done online. This is particularly useful for overcoming the barrier of distance. While discussion is constrained, the written format can help with reporting on the discussion.