Focus Groups for Research (!?)


OK, I know focus groups are poor practice for research. But quite frequently accessing users is difficult and user stakeholders (and gatekeepers) think that researching with a group of people all at once is less disruptive to them and more efficient use of their time.

I have some thoughts about how to conduct a ‘research workshop’ with a group of users. (This is early experience exploration, the actual product doesn’t exist yet, but the user groups are very specific.) I’m thinking that I will use the data to generate a CJM… or I could just get them to collaborate on a CJM…

Any thoughts from people who have been in this position? What has worked for you? How have you framed things so that you keep the data as ‘clean’ as you can? My plan is to have a very open, light 60 minutes and then fingers crossed be able to follow up another time with individuals for a ‘proper’ 1-on-1 interview.



@RohanIrvine might have valuable insight here.


Hey Irith,

If your stakeholders language is focus groups I’d use that to get your workshop across the line—then do small activities both individually and in group to tease out individual and group journey maps and limit the amount of influence from other participants.

When you’re in this situation doing the tasks individually first allows people to put down their thoughts and have a basis to talk about their experience.

If you can secure a deeper dive interview later on that’s also good, maybe you can do a quick phone interview with participants before the workshop so they’re not put on the spot in front of a group of strangers?

Let me know if you have any other questions :slight_smile:



Thanks Rohan, yeah, I was thinking of trying to use post-it note based activities so they are not talking to each other. Will flesh out some ideas will get back to you. Thanks for replying :slight_smile:


This went well, just gave participants post-its, asked them questions and gave them a couple of minutes to write notes. The funny part was, being lawyers, and being very competitive personalities, within 20 seconds one had commented ‘she’s written more notes than me’… me, ‘don’t worry about that, it’s not a competition, just think about your own experience’… :smile:


Ha! Love this.

Glad it went well – thanks for reporting back and closing the loop on this.