Validity & Reliability of Focus Groups

by Peter Flom; Updated September 26, 2017

According to the Lehigh site, a focus group provides a way to get feedback and information from a group of customers. Focus groups can be used in many types of research and can provide useful information. But it is important to conduct them in ways that make them reliable and valid.

Introdcution to Focus Groups

In a focus group, a group of about 10 people meet with a moderator in a guided discussion based on a set of research questions. The emphasis is on getting detailed views of the participants, rather than getting brief answers from a larger group, as is done with structured interviews and other methods.

Reliability of Focus Groups

Reliability is the extent to which a measure (such as a focus group) is accurate and replicable. With focus groups, this could concern whether another focus group, of similar but different people, would give similar answers. Focus groups often have problems with reliability. These can be lessened if the moderator is highly trained and if questions are relatively specific.

Validity of Focus Groups

Validity is the extent to which a measure measures what it purports to measure. For focus groups, this could mean whether it is reasonably certain that people are talking about what you think they are talking about. Focus groups tend to be strong on validity.

References

  • Lehigh
  • "Focus Groups: Theory and Practice" David Stewart et al 2007

About the Author

Peter Flom is a statistician and a learning-disabled adult. He has been writing for many years and has been published in many academic journals in fields such as psychology, drug addiction, epidemiology and others. He holds a Ph.D. in psychometrics from Fordham University.