Asking Effective Questions

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Articles - Asking effective focus group questions 11/6/12 10:18 PM Asking effective focus group questions Tags: Focus Group-Moderating Focus Groups Article ID: 19941203 Published: December 1994 Author: Naomi R. Henderson Article Abstract Focus groups are not helpful if the right questions aren’t asked. This article discusses asking effective focus group questions, including the key elements of good focus group research, the role and purpose of effective questions, question types, general questions to establish a base and the classic 10 questions for opening up areas for discussion. Editor's note: Naomi R. Henderson is CEO of RIVA Market Research, Bethesda, Md. In the soft brightness of fluorescent lights, eight…show more content…
"Can't they figure a way to make that less costly?" The moderator takes a cue from the respondent and opens the question up for discussion: Any suggestions about how a catalog company can lower the shipping and handling costs without absorbing a loss? Conversation on the topic ensues - the moderator intended to bring up the issue later, but since it emerged spontaneously, the moderator pursues it. Analyzing the depth of the answers to the two different initial questions, it is clear that the "why" question elicited a paucity of responses and the "role" question Page 3 of 11 Articles - Asking effective focus group questions 11/6/12 10:18 PM produced a waterfall, with many opportunities for respondents to provide rich detail for clients. The "why" question invites a rational, not behavioral, answer; one that begins with "because." A question that starts, "What is the role of . . . " allows respondents to enter the "answer arena" from a number of different directions. Given the constraints of focus group research (two-hour time frames, the need for relatively equal airtime for responses, multiple client issues to cover and the time of day most groups are conducted), it is critical that every question in a focus group be an effective question. It is eminently helpful to explore the factors listed below as
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