Qualitative research consultants rely on a number of methodologies when conducting qualitative market research. Each study differs in subject and scope, but researchers are always seeking to engage with participants who can offer deeper insights. Research consultants often design studies that employ a variety of methodologies, from in-depth interviews to focus groups. When choosing to include focus groups in a study, not only is it imperative to recruit the most appropriate and qualified participants, but also the right amount.
Focus group moderators seek the optimum number of participants to ensure that there is enough time for each participant to contribute. Ideally, a focus group should be between six or seven people. Any more than this and conversations become redundant, or there isn’t ample time for each participant to speak up. Any less than six, and participants become more self-conscious and are less likely to speak as openly. As with most market research studies, recruiting is often turned over to a focus group recruitment agency to find and vet qualified participants.
Anytime you bring a group of people together, there will be group dynamics at play. Moderators are attentive to group sizes to ensure that there will be an opportunity to gain deeper insights into the topic being covered.
What aboutDyads or Triads?
Don’t confuse dyads and triads with a sparsely populated focus group. Dyads and triads are different qualitative methodologies that are selected for specific purposes.
Dyads involve two participants. There are two common features for recruiting for dyads. One is recruiting known-pairs (spouses; child/parent; friends; co-workers, etc.), and the other is recruiting conflict-pairs (recruits who may have different brand loyalties.) Known-pair dyads are good options if a moderator wants to see power dynamics between two people with regards to purchasing decisions. Conflict-pair dyads are optimal if wanting to discover the emotional underpinnings of brand loyalties.
Triads are groups of three participants who may or may not know the other participants. Triads are excellent options for moderators to explore more deeply into a subject or topic. Triads are also good formats for moderators to monitor how triangulation can sway opinions and answers.
It’s easy to know the optimal number for recruiting for dyads or triads, but when it comes to focus groups, it’s important to be attentive to the overall number. Keeping focus groups between six and seven participants is a safe bet.