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Focus Group Roles

Roles in the Process

  • Facilitator – the person who leads each focus group.
  • Recorder – the person who assists the facilitator in each focus group, capturing a detailed account of participant input.
  • Data Analyst – the person who uses the recorder’s notes to conduct qualitative analysis of the focus group data.
  • Report Writer – the person(s) who draft(s) the executive summary of the results of the focus groups.
  • Scheduler – the person who schedules the focus groups.
  • Manager of Logistics – the person who manages all the room arrangements, etc.


  • A person can play multiple roles in the process.
  • More than one person can play a role (such as a writing team who prepares the report).

Skill Set by Role


  • The ability to effectively facilitate a small group of 8 to 12 participants
  • A good listener with the ability to ask good follow-up questions


  • A good listener with the ability to capture the essence of what people say and capture it in writing
  • Good writing and editing skills to be able to produce an effective summary of each session

Data Analyst

  • The ability to conduct qualitative analysis on extensive written input, including:
    • Developing a comprehensive summary of all focus group input
    • Organizing the information into themes of related items
    • Naming the themes in a way that captures their essence
  • Providing an effective comprehensive summary to the Report Writer

Report Writer

  • The ability to use the comprehensive summary as the basis for creating an effective Executive Summary


  • The ability to carry out all aspects of inviting people to participate in the process and confirming their participation, including:
    • Getting availability from the Facilitators and Recorders
    • Issuing letters of invitation to participants
    • Receiving/initiating follow-up calls to confirm participation
    • Sending confirmation letters to participants with questions to think about in advance of the focus group
    • Providing the Facilitator and Recorder with information about who will be attending each session
    • Providing the Manager of Logistics with information on each session and the required logistics for it

Manager of Logistics

  • Scheduling the meeting rooms and other requirements needed for each focus group, including refreshments if they are provided
  • Ensuring the room set up and other logistics are planned and effectively carried out
  • Providing any pre-session help the Facilitator and Recorder might need
  • Providing any logistical follow-up for each session