Two heads are better than one (the more heads, the better). Take advantage of focus group’s dynamics to get feedback and opinions from multiple people at the same time. The debate with users can reveal deeper causes of problems or, conversely, achievements about which you had no idea at all.
You will needpen, paper, dictation machine, video camera, scripts, meeting room, and snacks
Difficulty3 - maintaining the continuity of discussion, group dynamics control, and the ability to improvise
- researching opinions on any service or any problem in the library
- you need to expand and confirm information, which emerged from, say, questionnaire
- you want to test the concept of a new service or when you attempt to solve a design problem together with the users
Do not use when...
- you need a representative opinion of a larger number of users (use Questionnaire instead)
- you need to get to know opinions of several target groups
- Prepare your research questions and a script.
- Think about whom should your focus group consist of, with whom do you want to talk in the focus group, which can consist of 8-12 people.
- Secure the venue, technical equipment, and refreshments. Arrange the date and invite the users.
- Make sure that everyone feels comfortable and has the opportunity to respond to all questions. Reserve some time for users’ discussion.
- You may use a dictation machine, camera, or video camera to record the discussion of a focus group.
- Conduct a detailed analysis of the recording, transcript of the discussion would also help you a lot.
Keep in mind that...
- homogeneous composition of a group will provide you with better group dynamics
- it is important that every participant of the discussion has the same space for his or her comments
- focus group can also be arranged online, in such case, it is preferable to have two moderators
Find out more
- Focus Groups by George Kamberelis is a book with comprehensive resources related to the focus group methodology
- G. R. Walden’s article Informing Library Research with Focus Groups about techniques that might be used for a focus group method in libraries