What is a focus group? Definition and examples

A focus group is either a group of people for market research purposes or brainstorming. In market research, a focus group is a group of five to fifteen people. They typically come together with a moderator. The participants focus on a specific product, topic, political theme, political candidate or party. Rather than individual responses to formal questions, focus groups have general discussions.

A focus group may also be a group of people who have come together to solve a problem. Several experts come together and talk about a problem and how to solve it. In this case, it is a brainstorming group.

To ‘brainstorm‘ is to hold a group discussion to produce ideas or solutions. The noun ‘brainstorming’ is the process of generating creative ideas through intensive group discussions.

TheBalancesmb.com has the following definition of the term:

“A focus group is a gathering of deliberately selected people who participate in a planned discussion that is intended to elicit consumer perceptions about a particular topic or area of interest in an environment that is non-threatening and receptive.”

Focus Group
Marketing executives study focus group data carefully when deciding how to market new products.

Focus group – representative sample

Political analysis

In market research, a focus group could be a representative sample of a population. For example, a political party may be interested in how young adult voters would react to certain policies.

By observing young adults discussing those policies, market researchers would then report their findings to their client. The client could be a political party, a newspaper, or a think-tank.

Market research involves gathering and analyzing information regarding competitors, consumers, voters, a product, and market trends.

In business, market research might be a study of how a company sells a product and who purchases it. It may also examine why consumers buy it, plus what the competition does.


Marketing executives also use focus groups to help them determine how to market a product.

If, for example, you are about to launch a new video game console, your target audience will be children and young adults.

A focus group of teenagers and young adults would discuss what is important for them. They would also discuss themes that you present to them.

You might be interested in their budgets, i.e., how much they are willing to spend. You would also like to know what console they currently have, whether they like it, and why they chose it.

Focus group – problem solving

Sometimes, we set up a focus group because we need to find a solution to a problem.

Let’s suppose, for example, that there is growing frustration because some workers are putting in more effort than others. However, they are still achieving poorer results.

A group of employees, including managers and workers, could form a focus group and discuss the problem. Perhaps they would eventually invite experts to join the group.

For best results, a problem-solving focus group should follow these steps:

  • Identify the problem and define it.
  • Analyze the problem.
  • Establish criteria.
  • Put forward possible solutions.
  • Discuss the solutions.
  • Select the best one(s).
  • Implement the solution.
  • Have follow-up meetings to determine whether the solution solved the problem.