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Focus Groups and Quantitative Research

In a meeting with other members of the marketing department, the following comment is made. Briefly compose a reasoned response to this statement:

If a focus group's findings confirm prior expectations, the client or organization can forego any quantitative research.

Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

At least one to two paragraphs.

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First we need to determine how the prior expectations were formed. A focus group is a small group selected from a wider population and sampled, as by open discussion, for its members' opinions about or emotional response to a particular subject or area, used especially in market research or political analysis.

We should understand what a focus group is and what it can achieve. A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. In the world of marketing, focus groups are an important tool for acquiring feedback regarding new products.

In particular, focus groups allow companies wishing to develop, package, name, or test market a new product, to discuss, view, and/or test the new product before it is made available to the public. This can provide invaluable information about the potential market acceptance of the product.

Focus group is a set of research techniques, used in marketing and the social sciences, in which data are obtained from a relatively small group of respondents and not analyzed with statistical techniques. This differentiates it from quantitative research in which a large group of respondents provides data that is statistically analyzed.

In sharp contrast quantitative research must:
1. state both the hypothesis studied and the research procedures that will be implemented prior to conducting the study,
2. maintain control over contextual factors that might interfere with the data collected,
3. use large enough samples of participants to provide statistically meaningful data, and
4. employ data analyses that rely on statistical procedures.

So the role of quantitative research cannot be replaced by focus groups.

The role of focus group

Focus group method is used primarily as a prelude to quantitative research. It is used to define a problem, generate hypotheses, identify determinants, and develop quantitative research designs. It is inexpensive and fast. Because of the low number of respondents involved, these exploratory research methods cannot be used to generalize to the whole population. It is however, very valuable for exploring an issue and are used by almost all researchers. They can be better than quantitative research at probing below the surface for affective drives and subconscious motivations.


Most focus groups use a direct approach : they clearly disclose the purpose of the study and the organization that commissioned it. Questions are direct and to the point. Many other qualitative techniques use an ...

Solution Summary

In 1,587 words, this solution examines what a focus group is and how it contrasts to quantitative research. Various references are provided for the student to examine.