Group of students sitting around table with an older woman talkingFocus groups usually consist of three to twelve carefully selected participants who share similar attributes qualifying them to give valuable insight or evaluation on a particular topic. Focus groups are used to collect qualitative data that reveals insights relating to a program or projects impact.

When to Use: Before decision points, to collect information for making decisions

Estimated Time: 10 - 90 minutes

Participants: Youth, Adults, Educators

Supplies: Facilitation, comfort, and inclusion are key to successful Focus Group meetings

  • Meeting space with chairs arranged so participants can see each other
  • Moderator to introduce topic and ask question prompts
  • Recorder or person assigned to take notes of discussion or record ression

Sample Questions: Focus group questions are prepared ahead of time and asked in the following sample sequence from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.

  • Opening questions are used to get people talking and feeling comfortable. They should be easy to answer, but should not emphasize differences among group members.
    • Example: Tell us your name and how long you have been participating in the program.
  • Introductory questions are used to get the group to start thinking about the topic at hand. They help focus the conversation.
    • Example: How was it that you first learned about the program?
  • Transition questions provide a link between the introductory questions and the key questions. They typically ask participants to go into more depth than introductory questions.
    • Example: Think back to when you first became involved with the program. What were your first impressions?
  • Key questions focus on the major areas of concern. The majority of the time is devoted to discussions of these questions.
    • Example: In what way is your life different because of your participation in the program?
  • Ending questions bring the session to closure.
    • Example: Is there anything we should have talked about, but didn’t?