Difference Between Focus Group and Group Interview

Focus Group vs Group Interview
 

Focus groups and group interviews are similar to each other in that they involve groups of individuals who provide answers, feedback and insights to the specific topics, questions or concepts presented to them. There are, however, a number of differences between the two; the main difference being that focus groups are used for market research purposes and group interviews are used for job interview purposes. The following article clearly explains each type of interview mechanism and highlights the similarities and differences between the two.

What is a Focus Group?

Focus groups are a part of qualitative research which is conducted by businesses as a part of market research in which qualitative information is collected about the market, the consumers, product features, customer satisfaction, etc. A focus group is formed by a group of people who are questioned about a specific concept, advertisement, product or service, idea, etc. Focus groups are designed to be interactive and are used by marketers, scientists, politicians to gain an in depth understanding of the public’s response, reaction, and attitude to a specific idea or concept. Focus groups can also help in problem solving, prototype testing, and idea generation.

The focus group discussions are carried out by trained moderators who guide the conversation and ensure that maximum use is made of the time allocated. Benefits of focus groups are that it allows researchers to obtain a range of views rapidly and can be used at any stage of a particular project. However, participants in a focus group can be influenced to provide same answers based on peer pressure, and since the information obtained in qualitative, it can be subjective and open to questioning/criticism.

What is a Group Interview?

In group interviews, groups of individuals are interviewed by one interviewer or one individual is interviewed by a panel of interviewers. This type of interview structure can be commonly seen with job interviews. In a typical group interview, a problem, idea, or concept is presented to the group who is then given a specific period of time for discussion and problem solving. Interviewees are then observed by the interviewer who then looks out for individuals who take on leadership, communicate effectively, influence other’s opinions, and the level of team work displayed. These types of interviews are useful when trying to recruit candidates for a management position, or when looking for a candidate that fits into a specific work environment that requires team work, communication skills, etc.

Focus Group vs Group Interview

Despite their similarities, focus groups and group interviews are quite different to one another in that they are conducted in different ways and are usually used for different purposes. In a focus group, the level of discussion and interaction among group members are high, and this level of interaction is encouraged as opinion sharing and discussion can help achieve better feedback. In a focus group, the mediator allows the discussion to flow and performs the role of guiding the conversation to make sure the group does not go out of topic. In the case of a group interview, the interviewers ask directed questions and evaluate the answers given as well as the method used to derive the answer.

Summary:

Focus Group vs Group Interview

• Focus groups are a part of qualitative research which is conducted by businesses as a part of market research in which qualitative information is collected about the market, the consumers, product features, customer satisfaction, etc.

• In group interviews, groups of individuals are interviewed by one interviewer or one individual is interviewed by a panel of interviewers.

• The main difference being that focus groups are used for market research purposes and group interviews are used for job interview purposes.