The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Focus group

Focus group is a term often applied to a group discussion carried out for market research purposes. Participants unknown to each other are brought together, in a particular neutral location, for the specific purpose of discussing an issue, or responding to ideas or materials of interest to the client of the research.

The term "focus group" originated in the USA. It is useful to retain a distinction between this and the term more widely used in the UK, "group discussion". This is because the two terms carry implications of two quite different approaches to group interviewing within market research, "focus groups" tending to refer to the cognitive model and "group discussions" tending to refer to the conative model of qualitative market research.

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