Focus group

From Securipedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A Focus Group is a chaired discussion on a preselected topic, and can be used for citizen participation. The aim is to involve citizens, experts and relevant stakeholders in a planning or development process for feedback and comment, or for evaluation. Focus groups answer questions that the planners/developers cannot resolve, and can lead to new approaches.

A Focus Group meeting centres on:

  • Gathering opinions, beliefs, and attitudes about issues of interest;
  • Testing assumptions;
  • Encouraging discussion about a particular project/topic;
  • Collecting spontaneous participants' comments;
  • Providing an opportunity to exchange information.

Focus Group methodology and implication is a qualitative method to generate valid information and high quality data on the advancement of communities' and organisations' programs[1].

Process description

In a Focus Group 8 to 15 persons take part in a chaired discussion on a predetermined topic. This can lead to a cohesive “group view” developing. The structure/motives of the focus group can be specifically chosen by the chair; e.g. initial round gathering motives, individual point of views, individual affection; specialised (experts) input providing differing developments or approaches. For ensuring high quality during the Focus Group session and for optimizing the outcome, following actions need to be considered:

  1. Define purpose and objective of the Focus Group in advance;
  2. Establish a timeline in advance;
  3. Identify participants in advance;
  4. Generate questions and develop a script in advance;
  5. Record the group discussion and proceeding (video- or sound-supported, minutes etc.);
  6. Evaluate according to content considering emotional aspects and body language during the group discussion;
  7. Analyse and report the Focus Group outcomes.

How does it support in planning of secure public spaces?

The method is particularly suitable for determining culture aspects, legal aspects and ethics aspects of security related urban planning by:

  • Identifying motives for a particular type of behaviour and revealing areas of risks and insecurity;
  • Identifying public perception, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a general risk situation or a specific measure;
  • Obtaining information and ideas with which to handle a particular security/risk issue in the process of planning urban spaces;
  • Obtaining information on opinions, acceptance of and objections to planned measures/structures;
  • Evaluating specific planning steps and sub-results of the project;
  • Identifying hitherto unconsidered aspects relevant to security and/or the specific project.

Links and further information

Footnotes and references

  1. Grudens-Schuck N., Allen B.L., Larson K.: Focus Group Fundamentals. Communities 7-3. Departments of Agricultural Education and Studies and Sociology, Iowa State University, 2004. Retrieved from [last access: 2012-04-12].