The focus group is a research technique used by marketing research professionals to obtain insights from consumers or other respondents, on behalf for their clients, on topics such as new products, pricing, advertising, company image, customer service etc.
A focus group ranges in size from 6 to 10 persons and is conducted by a moderator whose job is to ensure that the participants “focus” on the topic at hand. A typical focus group may last from 1 to 2 hours depending on the complexity of the topic and the amount of information required. They are held at a particular place and time and participants are usually paid for their involvement.
A focus group is not a one-on-one question and answer session but a discussion. Although they are almost always about serious topics, a skilled moderator can make them fun and enjoyable.
Audio-recordings are usually made of a focus group for later analysis; some are video-recorded. The names of individuals or other identifying information is never reported to the client; in other words, anonymity is guaranteed.