A focus group is a form of research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, or idea. Questions are asked in an informal group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. Generally the focus group will consist of eight participants and a researcher who guides the discussion.
On arrival at the venue (which may be our purpose-built room at the Social Research Centre in Melbourne, or another venue near to you), you will be greeted by our host, who will ask you to sign a consent form to show that you have attended and agreed to participate in the research project. When all participants have arrived you will be invited into the group room where there is a table to sit around, with light refreshments provided.
Research sessions are usually recorded and you will be asked permission before we do so. The recordings are used for analysis of the project and will not be used for any other purpose. With your consent, people from organisations involved in the research project may occasionally view the group discussion via a one way mirror, television, or a remote monitor.
Generally the researcher will introduce the topic that is going to be discussed and allow the conversation to flow freely, guiding it so that we may gather the information that our client has asked us to find out. Please keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers in a group discussion, merely opinions. As with everywhere in society you may not agree with everyone’s opinions, and it is important to let us know why you don’t agree, however this must be done with respect to the others in the group.
The most important thing to remember is that the discussion is meant to be informal, honest, interesting, and fun.
We look forward to talking with you soon.
In-depth Interview Respondents
An in-depth interview gives an opportunity for an individual to talk to a researcher in detail about their experiences in a more private setting than would be the case with a focus group. As with focus groups, the discussions are completely confidential but help us, as researchers, to understand in detail people’s views, experiences and perceptions on issues that are important to our clients.
The interviews are conducted at a convenient location for the respondent – this might be at our offices in Melbourne, at a place of work, your home or another suitable local venue. As with focus groups, discussions are recorded (with your consent) to ensure that we have an accurate record of your views. The recordings are only used for our analysis and we do not identify anyone in our reporting.
In-depth interviews are a great opportunity for you to talk about your own experiences and views on a subject or issue. This provides a very useful, ‘rich’ and detailed insight to our clients which they may not get using other approaches such as surveys.
All of our qualitative research is conducted to high ethical and quality standards, and follows the professional codes of conduct set out by the Australian Market and Social Research Society www.amsrs.com.au.
How to take part
If you would like to take part in future research projects at the Social Research Centre, please submit this online form.
One of our researchers will be in touch with you soon.