Designing Focus Group Questions

Moderation needs to prepare questions to lead the focus group. Normally questions are of four types:

  1. Engagement: Questions, usually less sensitive or personal and ask at the beginning, which help participants to open up and get into the discussion.
  2. Exploration: questions which are directly related to the main argument, or require participants to share personal experiences and opinions.
  3. Probing / Follow-up: These questions are often asked when the moderation: (1) does not fully understand a response (whether the answer is ambiguous or short); or (2) realizes some significant or interesting themes/points emerge, and hopes to elicit more in-depth or specific information.
    “Can you talk about that more?”
    “Help me understand what you mean”
    “Can you give an example?”
  4. Exit questions: These help to round up the whole group session. Examples: “Is there anything else you would like to say about why you choose this subject as your major?”




  1. Be focused and don’t ask too many questions especially when the group is large.
  2. Questions should be short and precise.
  3. Open-ended questions are always preferred so that in-depth opinions can be obtained.