A focus group is a group of 8 - 12 participants led by a moderator in an in-depth discussion of a particular topic or concept. The purpose is to find out how people feel about a topic and how that topic fits into their lives. Unlike surveys and interviews, focus groups spark spontaneous interaction among participants, which can add depth and breadth to the data. Keep in mind that results may not be representative of the population. Results may not even be representative of the entire focus group because group dynamics can sometimes suppress minority opinions. Focus groups are an excellent way to deeply explore an issue identified in a survey.
Below are a few ideas that may help you decide if focus groups are an appropriate measure in your program's assessment plan.