Communication Arts Research CA3011 A. Parichart W. & A. Chulamani C.

Communication Arts Research
A. Parichart W. & A. Chulamani C.
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Focus Group
Content Outline
Focus Group
• Overview of focus group
• Characteristics of focus group
• Advantages VS disadvantages of focus group
• Uses of focus group
Focus Group
Focus Group: Overview
• Focus group (group interviewing), is a research
strategy for understanding people’s attitude and
behavior.(how and why)
Unlike the survey aiming at measuring
the attitude and behaviour (what is the
• Focus group involve people (participants).
• The number of the participants is from 6-12 people.
• They are interviewed simultaneously, with a
moderator leading the respondents in a relatively
unstructured discussion about the topic under
Four Characteristics of Focus
1. Focus group involve people
2. The people possess certain
characteristics and recruited to share
a quality or characteristic of interest
to the researcher.
Ex. All may be beer drinkers, or Lexus
owner, or females 18-34 who listen to
certain types of music on the radio
3. 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
might not expect.
• In most cases, they are not used to test
hypotheses or to generalize to a population. This
is accomplished only when several focus groups
are conducted to achieve a satisfactory sample
4. Focus groups have a focused
• 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.
• However, the moderator is free to depart from
the structure if the participants present relevant
Uses of Focus Group
Three Uses of Focus Group (Morgan,
1) A self-contained focus group is one in which the
focus group method is the only means of data
collection. The results of self-contained groups
can stand on their own; the data from the groups
provides a sufficient answer to the research
The focus group is mainly
used to gather information.
Three Uses of Focus Group (Morgan,
1997) (contd.)
2) A supplementary focus group is one in which the group
discussions form a starting point or are a source of followup data for quantitative study.
For ex., a researcher planning a survey on why people
read online news might develop questionnaire items based
on the content of a number of focus groups that discuss
that topic. He/she might gather more in-depth info. about
the quantitative results using focus groups to determine
the reasons people read the news.
The focus group is used to support/refute
the main data collection instrument.
(supplement other techniques)
Three Uses of Focus Group (Morgan,
3) Multimethod is of a number of qualitative and/
or quantitative techniques used to collect data
about a topic. The focus group results might be
combined with participant observation, case
studies, or surveys.
The focus group stands as
equal methodology.
Advantages of Focus Group
Advantages of Focus Group
• Focus groups allow researchers to collect preliminary
info.about a topic or a phenomenon. They may be used
in pilot studies to detect ideas that will be investigated
further using another research method, such a survey or
some other qualitative method.
• Focus groups can be conducted quickly. Most of the time
is spent recruiting the respondents.
• The cost of focus groups also makes the approach an
attractive research method. When respondents are
difficult to recruit or when the topic requires a specially
trained moderator, focus group may cost much more
Advantages of Focus Group
• Focus groups are flexible in question design and
follow-up. A moderator in the focus group,
however, works from a list of broad questions as
well as more refined probe questions; hence, it is
easy to follow up on important points raised by
participants in the group.
Advantages of Focus Group
• Most professional focus group moderator use a
procedure known as an extended focus group, in
which respondents are required to complete a
written questionnaire before the session begins.
The pre-group questionnaire, which covers the
material that will be discussed during the group
session, forces respondents to ‘commit’ to a
particular answer before entering the group.
This is to solve the problem
that some participants do not
want to offer opinion.
Advantages of Focus Group
• Focus group responses are often more complete
and less inhibited than those from individual
interviews. One respondent’s remarks tend to
stimulate others to pursue lines of thinking that
might not have been elicited in a situation
involving just one individual. A skilled
moderator also can detect the opinions and
attitudes of those who are less articulate by
noting facial expressions and other nonverbal
behavior while others are speaking.
Disadvantages of Focus Group
Disadvantages of Focus Group
• A self-appointed group leader who monopolizes
the conversation and attempts to impose his or
her opinion on other participants dominates
some groups. Such a person usually draws the
resentment of the other participants and may
have an adverse effect on the performance of the
The moderator needs to control
such situations tactfully.
Disadvantages of Focus Group
• Unless enough groups are conducted, typical
focus group research (4-6 groups)is
inappropriate to gather quantitative data. Many
people unfamiliar with focus group research
incorrectly assume that the method will answer
the question “how many” or “how much.” In fact,
focus group research is intended to gather
qualitative data to answer questions such as
“why” or “how.” Focus groups do no provide
such info. Unless enough groups are conducted.
Require quite a no. of
focus groups
Disadvantages of Focus Group
• Focus groups depend heavily on the skills of the
moderator, who must know when to probe for
further info., when to stop respondents from
discussing irrelevant topics, and how to involve
all respondents in the discussion. The moderator
must remain completely objective.
The moderator must be
Disadvantages of Focus Group
• The small focus group samples may not
represent the population form which they were
drawn; and the recording equipment or other
physical characteristics of the location may
inhibit respondents.
R. &
(2011). Mass Media
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