This column features my response to a question a reader of my newsletter has asked me. Is it something you have wondered about , too? Read on. And if you have a question you want answered please email it to me at or tweet me @JulieWassom.

Question: What is a focus group? How does it work?

Answer: A focus group is a select group who gathers with a facilitator for the purpose of doing some market research. Most focus groups are small and address very specific issues about a business. Participants can be parents who have been invited to contribute their perceptions or an anonymous group of people who represent a target group, such as prospective enrolling families. The facilitator runs the group by asking specific questions, and guiding the discussion. Answers are recorded and compiled for later use in designing marketing campaigns, determining levels of customer satisfaction, developing new products and services, etc. Focus groups, combined with other forms of market research, can yield valuable information to help a child care company attract and retain more customers.

Julie Wassom