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FOCUS GROUPS have been refined over many years by consumer researchers, who in turn borrowed the tool from the social sciences. They comprise a small number of carefully selected people who, under the guidance of a leader, discuss a subject. In industrial markets, researchers may have to accept that it is logistically too difficult to bring together respondents who are widely scattered. For this reason depth interviews are and will remain (until multiple verbal/visual link ups become feasible) the most widely used qualitative research technique. There are, however, some occasions when focus groups are the preferred method.
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