Focus group discussions are a modern way of sharing discourse in order to listen to individual points of views on a given topic. The sessions may be educational or research-based discussions, where individuals come together in order to come up with the best solution to a problem.
How to prepare for a focus group discussion
There are a few things to keep in mind, in order to obtain the desired results from a group discussion.
- Location selection – You should to select a place with minimal disturbance such as a quiet room or out in an open field, preferably a place with shade from the scorching sun. This is aimed at providing a serene environment, to enhance the concentration of group members.
- Get a properly functioning microphone – The microphone you select should be configured for the occasion; some microphones tend to be too loud or inaudible which greatly affects the quality of the discussion.
- Turn off voice activation gadgets – Be sure to turn off all voice activated gadgets especially phones and laptops to avoid causing unnecessary disturbance.
- In case the group members are required to be identified; make sure that the discussion members introduce themselves to the other group members, before proceeding with the discussion session. This kind of interaction provides a platform for the transcriber to associate members with something they say. This is a very good advantage, because it gives basis for arguing and presenting varied points of view about the subject at hand.
- Referring to people by name is also important, to help group members get to know each other and it is also a good way to thank group members for their contribution in the discussion.
- It goes a long way to serve snacks and beverages during breaks, because the clanking of cups creates some noise; reducing the monotony of an extremely quiet discussion session.
- Group members should also be asked to switch off their phones, because these devices are likely to emit signals which interfere with microphones. Therefore, putting phones on silent or on vibration is not an option; all the phones should be switched off during the discussion session.
- Before you begin, it is wise to check that all the equipments are functioning properly. Use headphones to ensure that the microphones and speakers are working as required, to avoid causing a disturbance to the other group members.
- Provide detailed explanations to the transcriber about the nature of the discussion and profiles of the group members who will participate in the discussion, to help them get accustomed to technical terms constantly referred to during the discussion.
Also read focus group transcription