12.2.1  Ideal characteristics of a focus group discussion

The ideal characteristics for a focus group are as follows:

  • The group consists of eight to twelve members.
  • The people in the group are similar in terms of demographics and socioeconomic factors (e.g. consisting of all women, or all adolescents, etc.) but are likely to have a range of different views.
  • Discussion generally lasts for 90 minutes to two hours.
  • The moderator has experience of the issues being discussed.
  • Conversation should be videoed and/or audio-taped, or notes taken.
  • Emphasis is on the interaction between the group members, rather than their individual perspectives.
  • The goal is not for everyone to reach agreement; instead, the aim is for the participants to reflect on the discussion topics, present their opinions, and respond to the comments of other group members.

12.2  Focus group discussions

12.2.2  The value of focus groups