Focus Groups

What is it? The Focus Groups are discussion groups that bring together different stakeholders. The moderator steers the discussion around a topic that has to be explored and facilitates the participation of the different stakeholders.

Objectives: The feedback from the stakeholders help the moderator to know more about the topic discussed, from different points of view and different experiences.

Resources needed: Virtual or face-to-face Focus Groups you require a flipchart or digital whiteboard to visualise group statements. Additionally, you should have a recording device or use a virtual meeting program with a recording function (e.g. Zoom) to record the focus group sessions.

Time: Focus Groups can be planned for a 2-3 hours session in face-to-face activities (with a break of 15 min) or for a 1-1:30 hours session in virtual activities.

Suggested number of participants: 6-12 maximum. Small groups representing different areas work better – the dynamics allow more interaction and longer time for discussion.

Steps to apply the method:

To run a Focus Groups productively, the following aspects should be considered:

  • Define the topic of interest
  • Decide who should be invited
  • Prepare a list of guiding questions
  • Be sure that participants agree to recording

Stage when to use this method:

  • Project Design
  • Project implementation

Suggested tools:

Visual sample: To learn more about Focus Groups

follow this link and watch a TED-Ed video explaining how Focus Groups work.

Example of practical application: The information gathered via Focus Groups gives you various expert opinion and is useful for different project management processes. For example, it helps to discuss about decisions for the overall project design in the beginning of a project. In the course of a project Focus Groups help to pilot test project outputs and tools.