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Focus Group Characteristics

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Cost Scale: A single focus group session will cost in the region of £1,000. Variance in costs comes from the number of sessions undertaken, incentives for the recruitment of participants, number and quality of facilitator and post-session analysis.

Time Scale: 2 weeks – 2 months

Depth Breadth Reach Engagement Level
Medium Medium Low


Focus groups provide an understanding into the attitudes and beliefs of participants in a group context. They also offer opportunities to observe participants’ non-verbal communication and group dynamics.

The depth of discussion is limited by the short time-span of the sessions. This in combination with the small group size means multiple sessions may be required to be able to conduct a thorough thematic analysis. Analysis of trends over time may be possible using multiple sessions with the same cohort.  


Although focus groups are structured beforehand and directed by moderators, they allow for the free expressions of views by the participants who have some influence on the direction of discussion.

Elements of the focus groups can also be used to generate or evaluate hypotheses and ideas.


Focus groups are typically comprised of 6-12 participants. This ensures the group is small enough for all participants to contribute to a rich and varied discussion, and allows discussions to be guided by facilitators.

Engagement Level

Facilitators are used to foster an open environment where participants can exchange and discuss their views openly. The dialogue between policy makers and participants is also continued when a report of the research is produced, which participants are free to feedback on.