Focus Groups are a great method of obtaining information from your target audience as an alternative to surveys. A focus group is a controlled group interview of samples from a target audience facilitated by researchers. Depending on the kind of data you wish to obtain, a focus group can be an excellent resource for a business as it gives you deeper insights into a particular subject or product that you are researching.

In conducting research, it’s crucial to take note of one’s objectives, as those goals can also determine what kind of research methods you can use. If you need specific insights that cannot be picked up by mere observation, then qualitative methods such as focus group discussions (FGDs) will serve your purpose well.

How Is It Done?

Focus group research is done by first gathering participants determined by researchers and management as part of a research plan, and they will be given various controlled questions by a moderator. These questions prompt conversations between participants about the subject of the session, such as a product. The researchers take note of the conversations and questions the participants have while also observing the way they react and interact with the product and among themselves.

Why a Focus Group Is Good for Your Research

As mentioned previously, a focus group is a great asset for research as it will help you understand your target audience’s preferences better. A focus group probes its participants’ perceptions and beliefs about a particular subject. This provides you invaluable information that you can use to create or improve your product or service. This group interview typically lasts no more than 90 minutes to maintain the interest of participants.

Within this short amount of time, a huge amount of data can be recorded as the researchers can also study the participants’ facial expressions, reactions, body language and other non-verbal signs. These data can be used in various design aspects, such as interface design, and many more areas.

Conversations between the participants and the moderator can go further to reveal more insights that you may have not previously thought about. This can contain information such as top-of-mind features they want to have, competitor activity, and industry information, among others.

Once you have plenty of great insights about your customers and their preferences, you can maximise the use of information obtained from FGDs.

Market Research Focus Group Vs Usability Testing

As with every research method, there are times using a focus group is optimal and when it is not. As an example, FGD is a good tool when conducting market research. A market research focus group can help you discover which groups of people are best targeted for your market.

On the other hand, finding out if your target market can make full use of your product requires another type of research. For such purposes, usability testing is a great way to find out if your intended users are satisfied with the products and services you are offering.

These two research methods are radically different in terms of purpose and results, but both complement each other as it pushes you to focus on what your customer wants.

The Do’s And Don’ts of a Focus Group

When conducting an FGD, there are, of course, do’s and don’ts that you need to be mindful about. For example, it’s always best to be modest and objective in facilitating the group, maintaining a balanced, cooperative atmosphere. Being impartial to the study will also invite the participants to share their thoughts with you more honestly. Another thing to do is be empathetic with people; try and make them feel comfortable with the discussion by praising and thanking them for participating in the study.

Some other things you need to keep in mind is that you should not ask leading questions or questions that suggest that you’re looking for a specific answer. “Yes or no” questions are also not advisable as these questions don’t open up a discussion. Another thing to keep note of is to allow them to speak freely without interruption, always welcome their contributions, and encourage them to freely express their opinions.


After reading this article, you might think that you might want to conduct a focus group discussion for your research. One easy way to do this is to work with highly reliable researchers or research agencies that can get you the results that you need. When looking for people to conduct a focus group discussion, Singapore based agencies like User Experience Researchers Singapore (USER) can be your best investment. We at USER SG can provide you with all the talent necessary to conduct a successful focus group. Feel free to reach out to us and enquire at