Types of Focus Group Moderation

Focus Groups can be organised to collect the opinions of stakeholders on a new idea, product or service. Business Analysts use focus groups to support requirements elicitation activities (See 10 Tips for Organising Focus Groups). In marketing endeavours, companies also use it to understand how customers perceive their products and services. When it comes to organising focus groups, there are different approaches to moderation.

This article discusses the different types of moderation that can be employed in focus group sessions:

1. Dual Moderator - This arrangement draws on the strength of two moderators to facilitate the event. One moderator controls the session while another ensures that all the topics on the agenda are discussed.

2. Duelling Moderator - Two moderators take opposing sides. One plays the devil’s advocate while the other takes an opposite opinion, to ensure that all angles are covered during the session.

3. Respondent Moderator - One or more of the participants acts as a moderator temporarily in response to the discussions.

4. Client Participant - With this arrangement, one or more clients participate covertly or overtly in the discussion to get the views of the participants on the issues raised.

5. Mini Moderator - A typical focus group session comprises 6 to 12 respondents. With this arrangement, only 4 or 5 members of a larger focus group participate in the session.

* The categorisations below are based on medium, not moderation approach. A moderator would however, be required to facilitate the session, regardless of the medium employed.*

6. Teleconference Focus Groups - This focus group takes place via the telephone. 

7. Online Focus Group  -  With this arrangement, the focus group takes place via online meeting applications. See A List of Free Software for Virtual Business Meetings that can be explored for holding virtual focus group sessions.

Picture Attribution: “Focus Group” by cooldesign/freedigitalphotos.net