Clarksville Entertainment Focus Group Topic Guide
due in two weeks

We are interested in the thoughts of people regarding issues of entertainment and recreation in Clarksville.  Our interest here is in how far (geographic radius) we can draw and what venues would attract people.

One possible way to explore this issue is to conduct focus group interviews with people who are in our initial target.  There is a practical limit as to how far (radius) we can go to interview people, but within some distance, we can at least interview people regarding the kinds of events that they might like to attend.

Propose a topic guide that could be used to explore these issues.  Refer to our screener assignment: your focus group interviews must be based on the sample that would be recruited from that screener.  Use the proposal letter (below) as a contractual obligation for discussion that belongs in your topic guide.

At the top of your Topic Guide, include the following information:

  • our consulting company name
  • the study number
  • the title of the study
  • the objective(s) of the study (in sufficient detail to leave no doubt to a client)

Within your Topic Guide:

  • identify the major topic areas in bold
  • indicate the amount of time (approximate number of minutes) that will be devoted to discussion of each topic area
  • under each major topic area, list each general question that will be asked
  • when the question is deliberately general or vague, indicate for what the moderator is probing if it becomes necessary to guide the discussion toward particular issues

For this particular Topic Guide:

  • the first major topic area to list must include an introductory discussion to include
    • the objective / purpose of the study
    • a discussion of issues of confidentiality and how the data will be used
    • the procedure / rules that will be used in the conduct of the session; the length of the session
    • an introduction of the participants; rapport building

  • the last major topic area to list must include a concluding discussion to include
    • a debriefing / summary of what was learned in that session
    • a debriefing of how the results will be used
    • thanks to the participants
    • instructions regarding how the inducement is to be collected

Assume that you will be the moderator -- that this time, you are not writing this for a stranger to conduct the session.  This means that you do not need to write out all of the wording as if it will be read by someone.  For example, you might list that participants will be asked to introduce themselves and might list the probes that go with that general area of discussion, but you do not have to write out a script of what will be said.  Do, however, write all of the general questions that would be asked so that the details of the discussion are very clear to a client.  That is, you are not writing this for someone else to run the session, but you must write it with sufficient detail so that the client can read it and know precisely what you intend to do in the conduct of the session.

You are strongly urged to study the following examples before writing your topic guide:

Dear Mr. Sville,

As a followup to our telephone conversation, here is a proposal to help find answers to the kinds of questions that you had.  Our understanding is that your interest is with regard to what venues held in Clarksville would attract people in the 18 through 24 year old demographic and how far (radius) we can draw for that group.


The proposed study would be an initial exploration into entertainment interests of people who live in and near Clarksville, how far they would be willing to travel for entertainment, and how much they would be wiling to spend.


Our proposal is to randomly call people who live in the geographic region of Clarksville and surrounding areas.  We would like a sample of at least 48 people from the targeted geographic area (including at least 26 from the immediate area of Clarksville and 22 from surrounding areas such as Bagota, Detroit, Avery, etc.  This would require six focus group sessions of eight people.  To help ensure this number of shows for each session, we would over-recruit for nine participants; our total number of participants could therefore be as high as 54. 

Focus Group Topic Areas

Recommended discussion flow is as follows:

  1. Question regarding participants' background.  Probes regarding where grew up, education level, economic status, employment status. 

  2. Questions regarding social status and social activity.  Probes regarding number of friends, kinds of friends.  Probes regarding social networking through formal gatherings such as church, school, clubs, etc.  Probes regarding social networking through informal gatherings (bars, etc.) Probes regarding online social networking. 

  3. Questions regarding current entertainment and recreational activities.  Probes regarding what, when, where, how often.  Probes regarding with whom.  Probes regarding how much spent.  Probes regarding why people enjoy these activities. 

  4. Questions regarding entertainment and recreational activities desired but not readily available.  Probes regarding what, how often.  Probes regarding how much willing to spend.  Probes regarding willingness to travel, how far. 


We will provide you with a topline report summarizing the results of and conclusions from these sessions.  We will also provide you with a presentation of results and conclusions on our campus during our last class meeting.


Our estimated timeline is as follows:

Weeks 1 and 2: Recruit participants (telephone).

Weeks 3 and 4: Conduct the focus groups (Week 3 Saturday, one week after end of recruiting).

Weeks 5 through 7: Write reports; rehearse presentations in class.

Week 8: Present results to you orally and in written report form.


Since the materials that we would consume are part of the normal, reasonable costs for a student, there will be no cost from your budget for materials.  Since this is a student learning project, there also would be no cost to you for time.  However, since students cannot be asked to incur the costs of long distance phone calls to outlying areas for recruiting, you would have to allow these calls to be made from your budget.  The focus group sessions can be run on our campus, so there would presumably be no facility rental costs.  However, you would be responsible for costs and arrangements for food.  You would also be responsible for the payment of inducements to participants ($75 each to a total number of participants that is at least 48 and no more than 56) and seventy-five cents per mile compensation for travel cost and time to participants who live outside of the immediate Clarksville area (based on zip code, not actual address).

Mr. Sville, please let me know if you need any additional information.  If you believe that anything in our proposal should be changed, let me know as soon as possible.  Thanks for this opportunity to work with you.


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