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Focus Groups: Questioning Strategy

One of the most frequently abused qualitative method is the Focus Group. It is so easy for persons to convene a group of 5-12 persons in a (virtual) room, ask them a series of questions in no particular order and then claim that a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) took place.

However, technically sound FGDs follow a structured process that begins with identifying the evaluation/research questions, having a selection strategy for the group composition, choosing an adept moderator, facilitating the discussions, analysis and follow up.

This article focuses on the questioning strategy. Yes, there should be a plan for how and when questions are asked in FGDs.

There are two main questioning strategies for conducting FGDs; the Topic Guide and Question Route.

Whichever strategy is chosen, the questions should flow logically and organically. Like a funnel (or an inverted pyramid), the questions should start out general and then get more focused and specific as the FGD progresses.

Learn more at my online course on FGDs on 7-11 June 2021. I will be facilitating live and interactive sessions.


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​​​Ann-Murray Brown

Monitoring, Evaluation and
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