Why do we buy certain products or choose certain brands?
This is the sort of question advertisers have always asked, and there are no easy answers. However, there is a handy tool that helps companies explore this and similar questions, and it’s called the focus group.
Focus groups have been widely used by organizations and individuals to find out how their products and ideas will be received by an audience. From the usage of household products to a politician’s popularity, almost everything can be explored with this technique. But how are focus groups put together? And how did they come about in the first place? Hector Lanz explains how focus groups work.
1.1 How did the idea of a focus group start? When?
1.2 Which technique did the researchers use to get information?
1.3 What is the purpose of collecting emotions and feelings about a product?
1.4 What is meant by an observer interference?
1.5 Do you think a focus group substitute for people genuinely interacting with each other?
2.1 Search on internet for companies that use focus groups; make a list of at least three companies you have determined. How and why do these specific companies use focus groups?
Seconfd, write a short report about your investigation.
2.2 What is meant with: “Perhaps when it comes to the big, important questions, there’s no substitute for people genuinely interacting with each other.“
2.2.1 Analyze this statement while using your own words.
2.2.2 What is meant with ‘the big, important questions’?
2.3 What impact has an experiment with a focus group versus real genuine interaction with each other?
Prepare a focus group experiment in a group of four to five persons.
First, make clear what the object of investigation is. So, choose one specific product everyone is acquinted with (for example a study book).
Now, divide three roles: ant least one observer, one focus group of at least two persons and one moderator.
Don’t start the discussion straight away about the chosen product, you need to make a list of criteria you want to investigate. For example: the shape of the book, online/offline, pictures, illustrations, text, tone of voice etc…
Now it’s about time to start the experiment.
Mind: Do not give this list to the focus group.
Invite the focus group to review the chosen product. Again, let them speak for themselves and on’t share the criteria beforehand!
Focus group will share their opinionsBeing able to know whether something is fact or opinion, is very important when reading news or watching an advert for example. • A fact is something that can be proved to be correct. • A… of the product. They will definitely also share the emotional involvement on the product. Focus group members must respond to various prompts from the group moderator.
3.1 Finally, tick off the list of criteria. Which are mentioned bu the focus group? Which were not mentioned?
3.2 What is the conclusion about the product? Based on your findings, should it be changed? Should it be improved? If yes, how? If no, why not?
3.3 Write a conclusion of this experiment ( ca 300 words). You must include documentation material, for example pictures from the product or group session.
Change the groups. Find another product and repeat the steps until you come to more conclusions.
Core assignments for students
Recommended by teachers
Case method | Cooperative learning
Concrete, realistic situations are individually analysed; afterwards, the resulting vision is presented and discussed in the group.
The individual’s vision is reappraised after seeking additional information. The different visions are selected and appraised.
Corner debate | Group activity
For making a choice or deciding on a point of view
The students are given a question/assignment/proposition with a list of choices. Each of these choices is assigned a particular location in the classroom, for example, a corner. Individual students choose one of these corners. (The choices are quickly written down on paper, so that you can’t see what your friends have written).
Students go to their ‘chosen’ corner. They talk in pairs about their choice and look into the arguments. This can lead to a class discussion. If necessary, students join another group. Which group is able to attract the most ‘defectors’?
Students return to their places and write down the most important arguments for each of the choices.
Demonstration | Content-based
Presenting course material through visualisation.
As part of a demonstration, an individual (a teacher, student or guest) shows how something works by means of a visual presentation. It depends on the subject if this activity is possible and suitable.
In a demonstration it’s important for the teacher to provide structure. Afterwards, do check the extent to which the instructions and sequential learning steps have been understood.