Example Focus Group Questions | What Should Be Included in a Moderators Guide?

Creating a focus group moderator’s guide can be tough - especially if you don’t know where to start. 

When creating focus group questions, the trick is to start simple and dive into bigger questions and ideas as the conversation flows. In this blog post, our focus group company will share insider tips on how to create focus group questions based on your goals for market research.

To help get you started, we will also share a moderator’s guide for a focus group project we conducted at our facility in Upstate New York.


In this blog post, Drive Research will share insider tips on what focus group questions you should ask based on your goals for qualitative market research.

How should focus group questions be phrased?

When creating focus group questions, consider starting with a simpler question. It can seem overwhelming to participants if a moderator begins a focus group with a long-winded or loaded question.  

An example of starting small could be asking a yes/no or rating question. From here, follow-up questions can dive deeper into why participants chose a specific answer. 

One way to focus the conversation is to have the moderator group together the participants who provided similar answers. For example, the moderator could group everyone who answered yes to explain why they chose their answer, then everyone who answered no to explain why they chose their answer. 

Every focus group question has a follow-up question

A focus group moderators guide includes a list of questions to be asked to participants. After each question, participants should be asked strategic follow-up questions to best uncover the goals and objectives of the research.

Also, remember it is okay for moderators to go off script if the conversation warrants it. Knowing what responses the end-client wants to dive into is likely one of the toughest jobs as a moderator since the end-client isn’t part of the active conversation. 

We outline 10 must-have qualities when looking to hire a focus group moderator.

Here’s a list of example focus group questions 

In a study we did in-kind/pro-bono for CNYSME, our goal was to provide insight on how to connect with younger professionals (aged 25 to 34 and in the second stage of their career).

The objectives of the market research were to better understand what young professionals need to grow professionally and how young professionals prefer to consume information.

These and other secondary objectives were covered in the market research. Ultimately, the client wanted to use the findings to increase membership and event attendance.

To address the objectives at-hand, Drive Research conducted a focus group for the client in Syracuse, New York. Drive Research developed an online recruitment screener to qualify participants for the focus groups. Participants were screened through the online survey to gather (1) age, (2) place of work, (3) job title, and (4) career stage.

Example of questions in a focus group moderator’s guide

A. First I want to write down a list of networking and learning groups in CNY you all are aware of. This can be a group that you’ve attended an event with or just a group you are aware of. [Moderator note: Go around in a circle and record answers on the whiteboard.]

    1. How did you become aware of the group? Explain.
    2. How do you stay in touch with the group to learn about future events? Explain.
    3. Are you seeking out events or is someone inviting you? Explain.

B. Next, I want to get a better understanding of how many networking or learning groups you have been to within the past year, and it can be an estimate if needed. Let’s define a networking group as a formal get-together you sign up for. If you haven’t been to any within the past year that’s fine, I just want to get a better understanding of your current habits. [Moderator note: Go around in a circle and record number on the notepad.]

C. Now looking at the list of groups, who has been to an event with one of the groups listed? I’m going to tally how many of you have been to an event for each. [Moderator note: Tally next to each name and ask participants to raise their hand if they attended.]

D. What are some of the reasons you attend networking and learning groups? Explain.

E. Looking at these groups, how likely would you be to attend an event within the next 3 months on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is not at all likely and 5 is very likely? [Moderator note: Go around in a circle and record ratings on the notepad.]

  • 1s, 2s, and 3s - Explain why you chose your rating
  • 4s and 5s - Explain why you chose your rating

F. Do you think there are too many, too little, or just the right about of networking organizations in CNY? [Moderator note: Go around in a circle and record ratings on the notepad.] Explain. 

  • Have you lived in other areas where you’ve done networking groups? 
  • If yes, how is it the same or different? What did they do better/worse than Syracuse in terms of networking?

G. Is there anything you are not currently getting from local networking and learning events? Explain.

H. Think about a recent event you attended, how could that event be made better? Is there anything specific you’d like to see these groups do to improve events? Explain.

Remember this is just an example of a focus group moderators guide. Depending on the goals and objectives of the research there are many ways to create a moderator’s guide.  

Here are 6 tips for creating a focus group moderator’s guide.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Upstate, NY. Thinking about renting our focus group facility for your qualitative market research needs? Or, need assistance on recruiting participants for a focus group?

Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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