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Conducting focus groups seems to be a process that is practically intuitive. However, this key practice in qualitative research requires that a novice facilitator must do his or her homework. This paper describes the process by which one becomes more cognizant of the tools necessary to be successful in planning and running focus groups. The paper provides information about books that were useful in providing practical information. It also details the use of the "learning-by-doing" journey embarked upon at the institution, whereby the author conducted 56 town hall meetings over a four month time period using a focus group approach to gain understanding about key constituents' beliefs about engagement at the institution.
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