Industrial focus groups

Focus groups that deal with industrial research problems are much like those covering consumer products, but with several important differences. First, the moderator must be knowledgeable in the field being discussed. Most moderators know about fast-moving consumer goods or shopping in supermarkets, but not all of them know enough about machine tools to conduct a discussion with a group of technicians and engineers. The screening of possible moderators in industrial areas must be even more thorough than for those in consumer product areas.

Preparing the moderator and the moderator's guide about the industrial problem must also be very thorough. It may be advisable to have an in-house moderator lead the discussion, or at least to have one in the room to help the moderator with difficult technical points. The participants in industrial focus groups must also be carefully chosen to make sure that each can speak about the problem. Time considerations are important: a group of people will become impatient if a session runs over time or becomes too wordy and repetitive.

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