Texarkana Artisan Gallery Focus Group Topic Guide
due in two weeks


Our class client is interested in learning how people perceive the arts in Texarkana.  Specific interest is in how far (radius) people might drive to visit our client's gallery and what kinds of artworks and prices would attract people to regularly visit, to bring friends to visit, and to make occasional purchases.  One possible way to explore this issue is to conduct focus group interviews with people who are in our initial target. 

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. Artisan,

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 how far (radius) people might drive to visit your gallery and what kinds of artworks and prices would attract people to regularly visit, to bring friends to visit, and to make occasional purchases.


The proposed study would be an initial exploration into interests in arts of people who live in and near Texarkana, how far they would be willing to travel for experiences in the arts, and how much they would be wiling to spend on those experiences and on purchases of artisan objects..


Our proposal is to randomly call people who live in the geographic region of Texarkana 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 Texarkana and 22 from surrounding areas such as Mount Pleasaant, Ashdown, Linden, 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(s) regarding participants' background.  Probes regarding where grew up, education level, economic status, employment status. 

  2. Question(s) regarding total annual expenditures on all forms of artwork in the home.  Probes regarding what, when, where.  Probes regarding how much spent. 

  3. Question(s) regarding the person's attitudes about various kinds of artisan displays that Texarkana should consider hosting.s.  Definition re. what constitutes "artisan works".  Probes regarding what, when, where, how often.  Probes regarding with whom.  Probes regarding how much spent. 

  4. Question(s) regarding whether the person would attend various kinds of exhibits if hosted in Texarkana.  Probes regarding what, when, where, how often.  Probes regarding with whom.  Probes regarding how much spent. 

  5. Question(s) regarding what kinds of artisan displays the person would like to see in Texarkana..  Definition re. what constitutes "the arts"  Probes regarding what, when, where, how often.  Probes regarding with whom.  Probes regarding how much spent. 


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 learning project, 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 ($100 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 Texarkana area (based on zip code, not actual address).

Mr. Artisan, 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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