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Focus Groups Guide

Part 6 Conclusion

This focus group guide attempts to provide practical information on how to coordinate, plan, and run an effective focus group that yields greater insights into the information needs of local news audiences. The emphasis has been on the focus group process rather than how to use focus group information in your newsroom. Although every newsroom will use focus group data in different ways, we think this kind of audience feedback is especially important in developing new revenue and editorial products. Above all, we believe that your research goal for the focus groups should take center stage and that our suggestions may need modification to align with a particular project. If you plan to conduct more than one focus group, it may be helpful to review your process after each session, revise your questions or procedures, and add your own notes to this guide.

For more information on focus groups, their theoretical background, and history on their usage, a list of references has been provided. Also included is a focus group “checklist” of key points discussed in this guide. Finally, it is important to note that a well-planned, well-executed focus group can not only be a valuable tool to investigate the habits and practices of local news audiences, but also be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience for the research team and the focus group participants.

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