Tips for Running a Focus Group in China


In order to dig out the true feelings and deep insights from people you want to interview, launching a small and safe group discussion to provide respondents an environment of expressing attitudes and exchanging idea could be meaningful and proper. Following paragraphs are the basic steps of conducting a focus group in general. Besides, what is the most crucial must be those applicable and useful tips when you particularly complete a focus group in China.


Set up Your Goals and Define the Purpose of the Research

A specific goal has to be clear and target-oriented. Therefore, repeating asking yourself the following questions and keeping rechecking your goals are the fundamental steps to lead a successful focus group:

  • What do I expect to learn and gather from those respondents?
  • Why do I have to choose focus groups to gather information?
  • Is the information I am going to collect could be useful for my further analysis?
  • Who should be invited, what are the effective incentives, where to organize, how to recruit the right members, and etc.


  • Be prepared for some rejections of participation because sometimes Chinese people are too shy to meet strangers and express their own thoughts in public.
  • If the topics of the focus group is about a specific technology or some academic knowledge and requires inviting professionals or insiders to join in, whether the targeted respondents are willing to reveal their status or not among other group members should be taken into consideration.

Generate a Question List

Due to the length of the focus group, a facilitator is given one or two hours to gather information from respondents. The structure of this question list should consist in an introductory or warm-up, which aims at easing respondents’ mind, and core questions, which helps explore the heart of the purpose of a focus group.  A perfect question list has to be gradually transformed from general questions to specific questions without any redundant content.


  • If the original text of the question list is in a foreign language, translators must be cautious to proceed with the work of translating from a foreign language to Chinese. The final work of translation must be complying with Chinese language and the way the moderator talks.

Find a Professional Moderator

The best candidate for this job should be equipped with the following qualities:

  • Familiar with the background of the focus group’s topics.
  • Able to tackle complex situations including outspoken group members, irrelevant discussion, and time management.
  • Experienced in moderating group meetings.
  • Able to direct and drag the topic of focus group consistently.
  • Aware of the importance of pre-preparing and rehearsing the whole process of focus group with stenographer and interpreter who will be on site in advance.


  • It is important as well to find a senior stenographer for focus group since the respondents are possibly from different parts of China with various accents.
  • A good moderator has to be dynamic and sensitive when hosting the group meeting to detect and encourage those shy respondents to pass opinions.

Limo is a Chinese consultant from Daxue Consulting that provides world-class quality market research service. Through gathering talents and elites from top universities in China and France, Daxue Consulting is able to offer a series of cost-effective marketing research services including focus groups, mystery shopping, and in-depth interviews as well.

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