It is contended that the theory and practice of qualitative research is an integral part of a comprehensive marketing course. Both postgraduate and undergraduate students of marketing may be expected to be familiar with, and have experience of, qualitative techniques. Focus groups are arguably the most frequently employed qualitative technique, and as such are used as a starting point for the study of qualitative research. Their accepted advantages of speed, flexibility and economy, together with the rich data generated, make qualitative methods eminently suitable for student research, with its attendant limitations on time and money. A detailed practical guide to the procedures for planning, conducting and analysing focus groups is presented.
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