Get more out of focus groups with one-on-one interviews

One very simple way to get more out of focus groups is to conduct individual interviews with group participants afterwards. We do them by phone, but any other method would work just as well. We have been doing this for our victims of crime project.  The benefits are:

Capture Participant Reflection 

If the subject matter has been interesting enough, participants will reflect about it afterwards. Reflection is a natural part of how people make sense of their experiences. Participants will think back over the things they said or didn't say and compare them with the things that other people said. Doing this gives them insight into their own thoughts and behaviour, which they then share with the interviewer. 

The Chance to 'Have their Say'

The  group environment gave victims of crime a sense of comfort about sharing their experiences  - 'It made me realise other people were worse off than me' as one person said and another: 'it helped me come to terms with what had happened'. However, group dynamics can sometimes, as we know, get in the way. Focus group participants can sometimes leave the group feeling that they didn't get the chance to have their say. So a follow up individual interview can help the moderator hear more of that person's story. We also had clients viewing these groups, so interviewing participants later allows them to talk about the client with complete freedom. Having said that,a lot of people forgot the clients were there anyway.

Obviously, participation in the second stage is voluntary, and suitably incentivised.

Our focus group and interview techniques are designed to make sense out of complex or sensitive topics. If you'd like to learn more, contact Sue for a confidential discussion.


photo credit: Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Tags: focus groups, Making sense, sense-making