Dan Centinello’s Tips for Building the Perfect Focus Group

The world of politics is one where an image has to be perfectly crafted in order to ensure the candidate or organization is accurately represented in the public eye. In my extensive experience, I’ve found that one of the most effective ways of doing this is to form a focus group made up of several individuals from diverse backgrounds, viewpoints and political beliefs. Here are my top three tips for creating your own focus group.

1. Know What You Want

You’re likely to get very little out of a focus group if you don’t even know what you expect to learn from the group. Rather than focus on the big picture, concentrate on a single detail and use your focus group to “magnify” that element. To do this, ask yourself how you’ll use the information you learn to reach your end goal. How do your means support your ends?

2. Use Three Types of Questions

Just as a diamond has several facets, the same is likely true of the issue you wish to raise with a focus group. To explore as many of those facets as possible, there are three types of questions you’ll want to ask focus group participants:

  • Engagement questions to give participants a solid idea of the subject matter being covered in the group
  • Exploration questions to allow participants to go off the beaten path and truly become engagedin the discussion
  • Exit questions to double-check to see that all ground was covered before bringing everything to a close

3. Know Who You Want to Talk to

Once you know what you want to talk about in your focus group, decide which individuals are better able to provide you with true insight. For instance, you wouldn’t ask strict tea-drinkers to participate in a focus group about their favorite coffee. Once you have a well-defined group, you’ll be able to uncover potential differences and similarities between participants and make adjustments as needed.

Just as a well-built house can only be constructed with the proper tools and materials, the same is true of focus groups.


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