How to Make the Best Focus Group Survey

September 04, 2023
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Effective focus groups can significantly enhance your decision-making process, and that begins and ends with the data you gather. Crafting an effective focus group survey is essential, whether you're a market researcher, product developer, or simply aiming to gather opinions.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to design a compelling focus group survey. We’ll discover questions that foster in-depth discussion, reveal hidden perspectives, and uncover nuanced responses. Ready? Let’s dive in!

Understanding focus group surveys

Let’s tackle a few basics about focus groups first.

What is a focus group?

A focus group is an interactive gathering of a small but diverse group of individuals who share opinions, perceptions, and experiences about a specific topic or subject. A facilitator typically guides a focus group while participants engage in discussions, often revolving around predetermined questions (we’ll get into those soon).

Focus groups encourage open dialogue, allowing participants to delve into more profound insights. These discussions often unveil valuable qualitative data, shedding light on attitudes, preferences, and underlying motivations.

What are some common focus group topics?

Focus groups are a versatile way to explore various subjects. You can use focus groups while examining consumer preferences for products, services, and advertising campaigns.

They can also be used to delve into societal matters, such as public opinions on social issues, healthcare reform, or environmental policies. For businesses, focus groups can help refine brand messaging, test new product concepts, and identify areas for improvement in customer experiences.

In education, they can facilitate discussions on curriculum enhancements, teaching methodologies, and student concerns. Political campaigns regularly employ focus groups to gauge voter sentiments and tailor their strategies accordingly.

How to write focus group questions

Crafting focus group questions requires careful consideration to ensure meaningful discussions. Once you’ve defined your research objectives and pinpointed the specific information you want, you can start framing your questions.

Focus group questions are typically open-ended to facilitate discussions. While phrasing questions, it’s vital to be clear, concise, and unambiguous to avoid misunderstandings. Some warm the group and build rapport, others directly address the topic, and still others may tie up or summarize the session.

Collaboration is an essential component of the question-creation process here. One tool that allows easy organization of responses can enhance is Form Publisher, an add-on to Google Forms. With Form Publisher, you can immediately share professional response documents with others involved in the focus group.

Examples of questions for a focus group survey

Focus groups are typically used for market research for new products, designs, or services. Here are a few examples of questions that can be used in focus groups.

Important note: while you may have a focus group for your company or service, we’ll be using “product” for each question as if you’re gathering information on a new product of yours.

Question 1

“How did you find out about this product?”

This is a great first question, as it does several things right. First, it orients the participants by introducing the main topic of the discussion. Then, it allows individual participants to voice their stories about it. It’s also an easy and safe question that allows rapport-building time.

Question 2

“What was your first impression of this product?”

This probing question allows participants to build on the response to the first questions. It can also be phrased in the following ways:

  • How did you feel the first time you came in contact with this product?
  • How was your first experience with this product?

Question 3

“How often do you engage with the product?”

This is an important question as it marks the transition between primary/introductory questions and more direct questions that will follow. A few other ways to phrase this question would be:

  • How frequently do you use the product?
  • Have you used this product over competitors? Why or why not?

Question 4

“What are the strengths of the product?”

Now you’re getting to the most relevant part of the survey. Questions encouraging participants to offer their insights, views, and perspectives about the topic are the meat of the survey. Some other questions meant to generate similar insights can be:

  • How has the product helped you address your needs effectively?
  • What aspects of the product do you believe set it apart from competitors?

Question 5

“In what areas could the product be improved upon?”

For a balanced view on the topic/subject of your survey, it’s important to get insights into the areas that are working well and delve into aspects that need improvement. This same question could also be phrased as:

  • Have you encountered any challenges or limitations while using the product? If so, could you elaborate on those?
  • Are there any aspects of this offering that you find less satisfactory compared to the alternatives in the market?

Question 6

“Is there any other aspect of the product that you’d like to touch upon?”

Toward the end of your survey, having a summarizing or concluding question can be very helpful. This allows the participants a chance to add something if they feel the need. A few other ways of ending the survey may be:

  • Are there any additional thoughts or insights you'd like to share about your overall experience with the product?
  • Are there any final thoughts you'd like to express about your interactions with the product that we may not have covered?

Now that you have your questions, you can confidently move on with your survey creation process. Google Forms provides the most intuitive survey-creating platform, so you should learn how to create your survey in Google Forms.

Automatically share survey responses to focus group organizers

With these questions in your arsenal, you’ve got a great headstart for creating your survey. See how you can change and expand on the questions above for your specific focus group, and you should get some great insights. And when it comes to the survey analysis phase, Form Publisher has you covered!

Form Publisher is an intuitive and easy-to-use add-on to Google Forms. It generates separate individual documents from your Google Form responses. You can customize the look and feel of this document, and you can choose where it gets stored in your Drive. The best part is that you can automatically route documents through several people who may be collaborating with you on survey analysis. Does that sound like something your survey needs? Check out Form Publisher!

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