A focus group is a form of qualitative research wherein a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Within the focus group setting, questions are typically asked by a independent facilitator where participants are free to talk with other group members.
"Structured focus groups" formats are popular - essentially using a structured process that yields useful, albeit unstructured content. Sessions start as open queries with the minimal questions that will keep the group members participating. Starting with general questions, and minimal (apparent) guidance about the topic from the facilitator, the session is protected from allowing the questions asked to limit responses. The process, though, is structured. This gives
a higher quality of information and more efficient use of time.
The Moderator's questions are designed to be open-ended and not tightly structured. The objective of focus groups is try to understand participant reactions and attitudes, as well as desires, related to the ideas being discussed. The hope is that participants are not encouraged in one way or another in providing responses. Many of the initial questions are intended simply to get Participants talking, to get the group
comfortable expressing their separate ideas.