Planning and Facilitating Focus Groups

Focus groupFocus groups are a great way to collect qualitative research data. They’re excellent for helping gain an insight into the views and perceptions of people, and a really great way of understanding users. They can be used to get feedback on products or services, or to help plan future developments. They’re often used in market research but can be adapted for a number of different purposes. One way we have used focus groups at Evidence Base was to gain a deeper understanding of student’s views on e-books and print books – their preferences, use, and reasons behind these. This was incredibly useful for supporting future purchasing decisions and user support. We’ve facilitated focus groups for a number of different organisations, including many libraries, and if you’d like us to work with you on this, please contact us.

Focus group training workshop

However, we recognised there was a need for training to enable other people to plan and facilitate their own focus groups or improve ones they already do. Following a number of requests for support in this, we spent time designing a training workshop on this topic. This started as a half-day workshop, but it has since expanded into a full day workshop to allow time for the theory, practice and planning.

The aims of the workshop are to help attendees:

  • Understand the value of focus groups and consider when they would be appropriate
  • Plan, organise and facilitate a focus group
  • Prepare activities for different types of focus groups to maximise the information collected
  • Report findings from focus groups to different stakeholders

The workshop includes a presentation to cover the logistics of focus groups, techniques to attract attendees, techniques to improve facilitation, and how to record and share the results of the focus group. It also includes a series of focus groups activities, based around a neutral topic, to experience the different types of activities you could include in focus groups. This then allows participants to consider how these could be adapted for their own focus groups.

We ran the first full day workshop in September, and had very positive feedback. Some comments included:

“Very thorough information and an excellent balance between theory and practical.”

“It has given me a theoretical and practical grounding for ideas and activities I have seen in use and participated in. I now have a clear idea of what sort of activities I would / wouldn’t use in different focus groups, and a good understanding of how people react differently to activities.”

“The activities were really useful to see how to make focus groups more interactive.”

“The handbook and individual exercises were laid out really clearly and will be really useful in future. The presentation was really clear and easy to follow.”

Book your place

Due to the success of the first workshop, we’ve scheduled another date to repeat it – Tuesday January 13th 2015. Booking is now open so you can find out more at http://www.bcu.ac.uk/evidence-base/training-and-events/planning-and-facilitating-focus-groups and book your place at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/focusgroupworkshop.

Hope to see some of you there!

Advertisements

Planning and facilitating focus groups workshop – booking now open

Focus group

Focus group

Would you like to get feedback from your users? Understand more about their needs? Get their opinion on new developments or services?

Focus groups help you achieve the above and more. They are also an excellent way to feed into future planning and provide evidence to support your commitment to Customer Service Excellence.

Evidence Base are facilitating a one-day workshop to help you learn how to plan and facilitate focus groups. The workshop covers logistics; techniques to attract attendees; activities to engage participants; techniques to improve facilitation; and how to record and share the results of the focus group.

The workshop is interactive in nature, with discussion points throughout, and an opportunity to try focus group activities out for yourself. There will be the opportunity to share your own experiences, and learn from other attendees’ experiences. You will leave the workshop equipped with the knowledge and skills to enable you to plan and facilitate your own focus groups, and will have begun the planning process for your next focus group.

The workshop is 10am-4pm on Monday 15th September in central Birmingham. For further information see the event information page and book your place using the online booking form.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the value of focus groups and consider when they would be appropriate
  • Plan, organise and facilitate a focus group
  • Prepare activities for different types of focus groups to maximise the information collected
  • Report findings from focus groups to different stakeholders

Feedback from previous workshop attendees:

“Really see the value in doing focus groups now and feel a lot more confident about conducting them”

“Great ideas; great activities; made me plan our first focus group with more vision, we were previously struggling.”

“Really well structured. I feel like I could run a session now and I had no prior knowledge.”

“Loved the use of activities to demonstrate their effectiveness.”

Further information

If you have any questions about the workshop, please contact the workshop facilitator, Jo Alcock.