17. How to collect and analyze evaluation data and outcomes

The key sections of a focus group report should be the following:

The key sections of a focus group report should be:

  1. a cover page with the name of the report, date, location, company name and topic discussed 
  2. an executive summary outlining date, place, participants, the purpose and any big-picture results obtained out of the focus group. All these details will be explained in the report 
  3. a section detailing the purpose of the focus group, including what the company had hoped to learn and the questions that were asked. 
  4. a section detailing characteristics of the participants (besides demographics like age, sex and income levels, you may include marital and parental statuses etc. as this may help identify what the group had in common, such as a group of younger, single working women, or a group of middle-aged, married mothers). 
  5. a section outlining the findings, starting with a general overview and then by writing down each question asked with the focus group members’ responses. In addition, the facilitator/moderator’s personal views of how enthusiastic or not group members were about certain topics shall be included too. 
  6. a section making recommendations based on the findings, listing any differences between what was expected to find and what was eventually learned. The author shall explain why he/she is making those recommendations using information gained during the focus group and may introduce other research that the company has previously conducted to support his/her recommendations.  
  7. a summary that recaps the report and its findings. 

For the analysis of the focus group results, there are 5 key steps to take. 

Analysis – The Five Steps 

Here are the analysis steps in detail. 

1. Grouping the data collected  
Group answers from all interviews to each question - For each question, what do respondents say? 

2. Classify and label the information  
What does each group of answers describe? - Organise and classify answers into categories and label each group of answers. 

3. Findings 
How does the information answer the research objectives? 

4. Assumption 
What theories develop? 

5. Implications 
What does it mean? - What major themes emerge? 

After these steps, the author of the analysis shall answer the following questions: 

  • What have you discovered? 
  • Is the knowledge something you know already, or is it new? 
  • Does the knowledge confirm a hunch? 
  • Do the findings pass the “big deal test” or the “so what test?” 
  • How does the knowledge change your perspective? 
  • What else do you need to know? 
  • What major themes emerge? 
  • What insight have you gained? 

Of course, the very final step is to draw up the conclusions and the major themes arising from focus group results. 

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