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Ethical Considerations in Conducting Focus Group Discussions

Media Manager - Focus Group Discussions - What are the Ethical Considerations for Conducting One

With digitisation continuing to transform the way people do business, different market research tools are being developed for businesses to adapt. However, despite the numerous latest methods available, traditional methods such as holding a focus group study are still relevant today as they can provide essential and unique information that cannot be acquired through other tools.

Focus group discussion is a market research tool that works by forming a group of individuals that will participate in an in-depth discussion regarding a particular topic and be supervised by a moderator. The collected opinions and insights regarding the topic will be analysed and used in developing new products or services or improving existing ones.

Conducting an FGD through online means is now being practised as a more convenient and sometimes safer method while maintaining the quality of data obtained. Some still use the face-to-face approach when able, as researchers can acquire other types of data that cannot be extracted from online methods, such as body language.

Regardless of the setting of the group discussion, it’s important to note all procedures follow ethical guidelines. These rules will help not only in producing valuable information but provide security among the participants and moderators too.


Everything Begins with a Yes

Anything that involves collecting information requires consent. An FGD starts with planning the study objectives and then is followed by recruiting the right participants. In this stage of the process, their consent to giving personal information is requested for focus group participation.

Consent doesn’t only mean an individual’s agreement to participate. It also means being informed about the objectives of the group discussion, the organisation conducting the research, and the topic of the discussion. While the study organiser may not disclose confidential information about the client and the product, researchers should still be open enough about the process, such as the recording of data.


Every Bit is Treated with Utmost Confidentiality

The goal of conducting an FGD is to extract and collect data, which would include non-countable information such as opinions. This information will come from every individual’s perspective, which is why it should be used solely for the subject of the research. Businesses that conduct focus group discussions in partnership with qualitative research firms should ensure the participants that everything will be confidential.


Everything Should be Fair and Square

The success of all focus group studies relies on the questions asked to the participants. To ensure genuine results, the questions formulated should be framed appropriately. The context of the questions should be free from bias and the jargon or language used is easily understood. Moderators should avoid leading or unclear questions to help prevent getting vague answers. Open-ended questions encourage the participants to elaborate on their answers. It’s also important to note that the questions are socially appropriate and stick to the topic at hand.



Keeping a close eye on ethical considerations is a simple yet vital part of conducting a successful research study. One should remember that your business and the market research companies you’re working with should adhere to the abovementioned guidelines. If you need a trustworthy company with complete facilities and experts for FGDs, Media Manager is your company’s best bet. We’re a digital marketing agency from Singapore specialing in conducting focus group discussions and market research. To find out more about our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

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