Working with focus groups

From Our Toolkit

Focus groups are useful method of evaluation if you want to explore a specific area in more depth, this can range from asking people about an interpretation element of an exhibition to a new resource you are developing for schools.

Getting started

Focus groups are used to gather thoughts and opinions rather than facts and figures in a guided discussion. Focus groups are usually small between 5-10 people and incentives, refreshments and sometimes travel are provided for those who attend.

SHARE Museum East’s Focus Group Guide and the Citizen Advice Bureau’s How to run a focus group are a good starting point.

Consulting with existing groups and audiences

A focus group can be used with groups you already have a good relationship with, for example a Friends organisation, a local community organisation or you can build a group. There are agencies that can help you recruit participants, ask around to see who other heritage organisations use, you can also use you own networks and contacts – your mailing lists, website, and social media to help you find participants.

Examples of groups that can be used to consult with a specific audience:

They can also be used to help inform your collecting:

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