Focus group interview consists in conducting a free discussion with a group of selected respondents based on a previously prepared scenario referring to the assumed objectives of the survey. By properly directing the conversation, a moderator supervising the course of the interview has to obtain full and credible opinions of the participants on the discussed issues. During the interview, various projection techniques may also be used with the purpose of facilitating the elicitation of subconscious opinions from respondents.
Focus group interviews provide the opportunity to observe the course of discussions, interactions between the participants, confront people with different shopping habits or demonstrate and test projects of advertisements, products and packaging. Focus group interviews are classified according to the number of participants into mini-groups (mini FGI) with 4-6 participants, three-person triads and dyads with two participants. An interesting variant of FGIs are creative groups whose task is to create a new strategy, solution or name, often using brainstorming technique, as well as expert groups to which specialists in a given field are invited.
During focus group interviews, a number of group effects (spontaneity, synergy, snowball effect, stimulation and safety) are triggered fostering natural expression, motivating to participate in discussions and helping individuals express bolder opinions. This, in turn makes a proper background for presenting various opinions, ideas and attitudes in a relatively short time. Focus group interviews are often devised as an preliminary stage for further surveys. They are used e.g. in the development of marketing campaigns, before launching new products to the market and to check the effectiveness of advertising or to recognize brand image.