Focus groups are used for exploratory studies, and the issues that emerge from the focus group may be developed into a questionnaire or other form of survey to verify the findings. Relatively inexpensive, focus groups can provide fairly dependable data within a short time frame. Focus groups are a technique used to find out what issues are of most concern for a community or group when little or no information is available. They allow people to answer questions, but also to bounce ideas off one another, and hence provide more detailed information as people share and elaborate on their issues.
Where large-scale objective information is needed, a minimum of four focus groups and as many as 12 may be needed to collect all the information needed. Using independent researchers to run groups and analyse data will ensure objectivity for organisation who need to maintain transparent processes.
This page originally copied with permission from the Citizens Science Toolbox