Focus Group

Also Known As
Discussion Forum

A focus group is comprised of a collection of several individuals who all discuss a particular subject, voicing and discussing their opinions and ideas on that subject.


To collect preliminary data for surveys or interviews in order to determine issues that end users view as significant.

To help determine how needs should be prioritized.

To follow up on end user interviews.

To evaluate and elicit opinions on concepts.

To ensure end user needs are clearly defined and understood.

How do I use this tool?

1. DETERMINE THE SIZE of the focus group. A group of 10 or less members is preferable.

2. IDENTIFY THE PARTICIPANTS. You can combine representative aspects of various end user types or select one specific type. You can also choose a group of people that you already know have an interest in the focus group's topic.

3. DEVELOP THE QUESTIONS. Conduct a pilot session to streamline the process of collecting and analyzing your data.

4. CONDUCT THE FOCUS GROUP. Note that if you lack experience running focus groups this may be more difficult than it appears.

5. After the focus group, TRANSCRIBE THE COMMENTS. Categorize and prioritize them.


Expertise Required
Users of this tool usually have some training or experience in its use.

Participants can inspire ideas in each other and develop ideas together.

Less time intensive than interviews and allows the individuals to express ideas more freely and in a much more open-ended format than a survey.


Transcription and analysis can be time consuming.

Strong group leadership is required to maintain group focus and control.

Where can I go to learn more?

George M, Rowlands D, Price M, et al. Voice of the customer. The lean six sigma pocket toolbook. New York: McGraw - Hill; 2005. p. 55-68.

Tague N. The tools. In: O'Mara P, editor. The quality toolbox. 2nd ed. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press; 2005. p. 93-521.