group discussion

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A marketing research technique that brings between six and eight respondents together for at least an hour to discuss a marketing issue under the guidance of an interviewer. It has been found that, once such a group is relaxed, it will fully explore issues in a manner that shows what is important to it, using its own rather than marketers' terminology. The interviewer, who is a specialist acting on behalf of a client, first draws up a topic guide that identifies the points to be explored. A sample of respondents – who must not know one another – is recruited to match certain criteria (e.g. if the problem concerned tea all respondents would be tea drinkers). The group meets in the interviewer's home or in a hotel; with the discussion being tape-recorded, the interviewer describes the problem and then adopts a passive role, allowing the group to discuss their views and interjecting further questions only if some aspect of the problem is not being explored adequately. After a minimum of four group discussions, the interviewer will have sufficient material to write a report and recommend a particular action. Group discussions are a qualitative procedure (see Qualitative Marketing Research) frequently used to determine attitudes to particular products or advertisements. See also Focus Group.

Subjects: Business and Management.

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