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.

Essay by michiko_85University, Bachelor'sC-, April 2006

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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 this way. However, focus groups are now also used in applied research as a strategy for collecting data, especially when doing qualitative research to tap people's subjective experiences (Sullivan, 2001)

Focus groups are normally used to investigate complex behavior in the same time discover how different groups think and feel about a topic and what opinions do they have (Evalued: Focus Groups 2005).

There are many advantages of using focus groups. It allows the companies or researchers to evaluate products and services based on real life information on the spot without any excessive costs. But the one thing they have to take into account is that the focus group that is involved represents the majority of the public who use the products and services so the outcome also represents the voice of the public.

Although not many but there are actually a few disadvantages that the method of focus groups has compared to other marketing research methods. One of the main disadvantages is the risk of probability that the members of the focus groups do not represent the majority of the public or...