I was interested to read your article “Group Therapy” on focus groups (MW January 28), but was disappointed to find no mention of some of the more exploratory techniques open to moderators, for example, games, projective and psychological tasks and role playing.
I particularly agree with the use of split groups. Not only are splits of gender useful, but splits are also beneficial for customer/non-customer groups.
This can allow detailed arguments to develop between social groups. In order to maximise the findings, we believe that an understanding of group psychology is necessary. Group dynamics deal with the issues around conformity and the pressures on respondents to fulfil a role and be a good respondent. There are also complex effects of groups when it comes to decision making and expressing opinions.
An understanding of the psychology behind groups can help create an environment which produces the desired effect – whether that be an understanding of the extremes of each opinion by using “in groups” and “out groups”, or increasing each respondents’ contribution by social loafing.
It is not the task of researchers to both educate the purchasers of research and to encourage them to get more from what has to be one of the most dynamic qualitative research tools.
FFwd Precision Marketing