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What Are Some Of The Disadvantages Of Using Focus Groups? Discuss Two Recent Trends In Focus Group Research And Explain Why You Think These Have Evolved. Use References To Support Your Opinions

1685 words - 7 pages

A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people is asked about their attitude towards a product, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging (Blankenship et al. 1998). Focus groups usually consist of 8 to 10 members and are headed by a moderator to keep track of things and make sure that every member of the group participates in the discussion. In the world of marketing and marketing research, focus groups are one of the most popular techniques used even by the greatest researchers. Originally, focus groups were intended to be an early step in the research process, to help researchers develop hypotheses and questionnaire items, and they are still sometime used in ...view middle of the document...

Members of the focus groups must have the general taste and response of the public and must not judge the product or service according to their own personal preferences.Another disadvantage is there can be disagreements and irrelevant discussion which distract from the main focus (Evalued: Focus Groups 2005). The human ability to think makes every person's mind different. Although focus groups are good to gather positive and negative information about something, there is also the chance that a person would disagree with another. This brings us to the matter of attitude towards disagreements. If the moderator does not do a good job to keep track of the main focus, the discussion could go out of topic and it would all be just a waste of time. The chances of this happening increases when the topic is more about a sensitive issue such as race, religion, nationality or even education status.Other than that, although there is a moderator to moderate everything, another disadvantage of a focus group is inability to control what information to be produced. Questions in questionnaires gives direct feedback to the researches on what kind of information they want, where as for focus groups, the flow of information is uncontrollable and unpredictable (Blankenship et al. 1998). This sometimes can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation.Another general disadvantage of a focus group is that some members may find a focus group situation intimidating and may feel under pressure to agree with the dominant view of a subject. For example if 9 out of 10 of the members of the focus group agree that abortion is wrong, and only one in his or her mind think it is alright, the one person who has a different view might feel uncomfortable to say what he wants in fear of being criticized by the others. In this view, there is a chance that members in the focus groups are not really honest with each other.The last disadvantage of a focus group that would be discussed will be when respondents are overly introverted (shy) or are overly dominating (try to sway discussion). When any of this happens, the discussion would not produce a good result as if they are too quite, information would not flow properly in the room and if they are too dominating, the discussions would sway away and will result in a waste of time.The focus group method has been going around for ages in the world of marketing. There is no question about it that this method has evolved itself and now has different strategies and techniques. One of them is focus group through video conferencing. The idea of this method is just as the same as the traditional method that is to group a bunch of people with a moderator to discuss about a subject. The only main difference is none of them are grouped together in one room. Video conferencing of focus groups simply broadcasts the sessions to a remote facility where people observe the proceedings live over a television monitor in their receiving sites....

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