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Loyola University Chicago Libraries



  • Consists of a small group usually made up of five to ten people
  • Gathers opinions, beliefs, and attitudes about issues of interest
  • Group is led through an open discussion by a skilled moderator
  • Allows testing of assumptions
  • Encourages discussion about a particular topic
  • Attempts to shed light on a phenomena by studying a single case example.
  • Focuses on an individual person, an event, a group, or an institution.
  • Allows for in-depth examination by prolonged engagement or cultural immersion
  • Explores processes and outcomes
  • Investigates the context and setting of a situation
  • Can involve a number of data gathering methods
  • Involves gathering information from individuals by using a questionnaire.
  • Can generate standardized, quantifiable, empirical data as well as qualitative data.
  • Can reach large number of respondents.
  • Development involves creating questions and response categories; writing up background information and instructions; and determining organization, layout and design.

Tips for Effective Focus Group Moderating

  • Keep track of which questions have and have not been asked and answered
  • Know how to phrase questions that encourage participants to provide elaborate, detailed (rather than brief) responses
  • Ask questions that elicit participant’s own views and experiences as opposed to reflecting the convictions of the moderator
  • Ask one question at a time, verifying unclear responses,
  • Use follow-ups and probes
  • Remain neutral by asking open-ended questions and avoiding leading questions

Loyola Resources for help with Surveys