Make sense of your data with focus group analysis software

Easily analyze your focus group interviews and get a new perspective with help from the industry-leading platform for qualitative and mixed methods research.


Get deeper insights with better focus group data analysis

Analyze all sorts of focus group data, from simple text transcripts to video recordings for a more detailed picture. Besides smart auto coding and real-time team collaboration, ATLAS.ti provides you with a wide range of intuitive research tools for faster results.


Figure out the "why" behind your participant's motivations

Understand the behaviors and emotions that are driving your focus group participants. With ATLAS.ti, you can transform your raw data and turn it into qualitative insights you can learn from. Easily determine user intent in the same spot you're deciphering your overall focus group data.


Visualize your research findings like never before

We make it simple to present your analysis results with meaningful charts, networks, and diagrams. Instead of figuring out how to communicate the insights you just unlocked, we enable you to leverage easy-to-use visualizations that support your goals.

Thank you for making research more interesting by simplifying data analysis further. I have used ATLAS.ti and it made my work very simple. I am a researcher and my work is always around research and data analysis.
Joan Aliobe
Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development

Everything you need to analyze focus group data


Import and organize interview data

Import and analyze any type of interview data – ATLAS.ti supports all standard text and transcription files such as Word and PFD, as well as audio and video recordings.


Analyze with ease and speed

Utilize easy-to-learn workflows that save valuable time, such as auto coding, sentiment analysis, team collaboration, and more.

Leverage AI-driven tools

Make efficiency a priority and let ATLAS.ti do your work with AI-powered research tools and features for faster results.


Visualize and present findings

With just a few clicks, you can create meaningful visualizations like charts, word clouds, tables, networks, among others.

The faster way to make sense of your focus group. Try it for free, today.

What is a focus group?

A focus group is an interview involving multiple respondents to discuss ideas. Researchers may choose a focus group over an interview with an individual respondent when they want to observe the interplay of ideas among various focus group members.

A focus group consists of an interviewer/moderator and multiple research participants. A focus group discussion is similar to an interview in that the interviewer asks questions that research participants answer. Recordings of these focus groups contribute to data analysis later.

Focus groups have several important uses, including:

  • market research
  • needs assessment
  • theoretical development
What are some advantages of focus groups over other methods?

Among other methods, researchers seek out opinions and perspectives through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Each has its merits, so it is essential to recognize that the most effective method of data collection depends on the context and objectives of your research.

Advantages over surveys

Surveys can collect data from large numbers of respondents, but researchers cannot ask follow-up questions for more detailed answers. Moreover, respondents may make mistakes, leave blank answers, or give up in the middle of a survey. A focus group usually involves fewer respondents but allows for a deeper exploration of ideas through dialogue. Consider focus groups over surveys when your research depends less on a quantitative analysis.

Advantages over interviews

One-on-one interviews, like focus group discussions, can capture complex answers from a more dynamic interaction with respondents. However, interviews isolate research participants from each other. In an interview study, a researcher cannot capture the interplay between multiple respondents. A group interaction may be more helpful in studying topics like experiences at an amusement park or decisions about family planning, which typically involve multiple people working and acting in tandem with each other. If your research benefits from engagement among research participants, conducting a focus group is an effective strategy for encouraging that interaction.

What are good focus group questions?

Effective focus groups encourage sustained interaction between focus group members, where the interviewer is more of a facilitator of dialogue within the focus group. There are, of course, basic questions to pose to a group:

  • What do you think about this product?
  • How do you feel when you see this logo?
  • Which supermarket do you visit the most?

That said, the group dynamics raise a number of considerations and opportunities for researchers.

Fostering rapport

Suppose the members of a focus group discussion don't know each other. In that case, researchers might benefit from beginning a focus group with some brief introductions to allow members to feel comfortable with each other. Unlike in an interview, where an individual respondent might be more open to sharing opinions with a single interviewer, focus group members might experience discomfort or anxiety in the presence of other respondents. Self-introductions and other ice-breaking activities can help ease any tension and encourage deeper exploration of perspectives in later discussions.

Building narratives

Several prompts can help elicit narratives from focus group members:

  • Tell me about the first time you used this product.
  • What problem were you trying to solve when using this service?
  • Let's talk about when you went to this amusement park with friends or family.

Eliciting these narratives can also raise reactions among other focus group members, such as agreement or surprise, that researchers can code for in ATLAS.ti to get a deeper understanding of a particular topic.

Solving problems

Questions that pose a problem to solve are an excellent way to encourage focus group members to discuss solutions together:

  • What is the best path to the city center if you cannot use the train or the bus?
  • How would you make this shopping center more accessible to more people?
  • What are some ways to address the complaints made about this product?

Problem-solving tasks take advantage of the group dynamics by allowing focus group members to share ideas and develop a consensus.

Are focus groups qualitative or quantitative?

Focus groups have an intuitive association with qualitative research. However, researchers can measure any data quantitatively or qualitatively, depending on the research question you want to answer. ATLAS.ti can help you analyze focus group data regardless of your chosen analysis strategy.

Qualitative analysis

One of the most common goals of analyzing focus group interviews is to identify patterns in the perspectives of focus group members to guide decision-making and theoretical development. Typically, researchers use transcripts of recordings of focus groups as qualitative data, which they can code in ATLAS.ti for essential or interesting themes.

For example, suppose you have conducted a focus group to gather opinions about a new product. In that case, you can apply codes such as "positive brand image" and "doubts about effectiveness" to what focus group members say. Analysis of these codes is a matter of which codes appear more often than others to generate a sense of a focus group's overall impression of that product.

Quantitative analysis

That said, there are quantitative methods for analyzing focus group data. Content analysis, for example, relies on determining the frequency of words or phrases in a text. ATLAS.ti has specific analytic tools that can contribute to a quantitative analysis:

  • Text Search
  • Word Cloud
  • Word List
  • Concepts
  • Code Co-Occurrence
  • Code-Document Table

Tools such as Word List and Code-Document Table can create tables and export them to Microsoft Excel for further statistical analysis.

Researchers can also conduct a quantitative analysis of codes through tools such as Code Co-Occurrence. Using this tool, researchers can consider the relationship between themes and sentiments established by the frequency they appear in focus group members' opinions.

For example, a researcher may code the focus group data for positive sentiments about a product, discussion of a product's effectiveness, and discussion of a product's design. That coding strategy combined with the Code Co-Occurrence tool can determine whether a product's effectiveness or design has more positive sentiments through a comparison of both frequencies.

How can I code focus group data?

In many ways, focus group data is similar to interview data, as a focus group transcript is simply a record of what the interviewer asks and what the respondents say. However, it will be essential to keep track of which respondent is speaking since members of a focus group are different.

In ATLAS.ti, you can apply descriptive codes depending on which focus group member is speaking. Using the Query Tool or Code Co-Occurrence, you can then look for quotations based on a combination of descriptive codes and codes that capture opinions or ideas (e.g., quotations with the codes "Speaker #1" and "Positive opinion").

ATLAS.ti can also analyze video and audio recordings of focus group data. Researchers can identify and code non-verbal communication such as facial expressions or eye contact when focus group members express opinions or listen to others to contextualize those opinions further.

How can I transcribe focus group interviews?

You can use ATLAS.ti software to transcribe a focus group discussion while viewing video files or listening to audio files. The software has word processor functionality that allows researchers to input text directly into documents before and during the coding process.

Other transcription services

Alternatively, various online services can generate automated transcripts of video and audio files in the form of VTT or SRT files. A list of numerous online platforms that provide automatic transcription of multimedia can be found in this article.

You can view transcripts alongside multimedia files and enable synchronized scrolling of both entities. This functionality is useful when researchers want to code both the multimedia file and its associated transcript in the same view.

How can I present the results of my focus group research?

ATLAS.ti has several tools that can create several visualizations to help researchers explain their data analysis to their stakeholders and scholarly audiences:

  • Code Co-Occurrence
  • Code-Document Table
  • Networks

The Code Co-Occurrence and Code-Document Table tools can generate tables, bar charts, and Sankey diagrams to summarize frequencies of main ideas and key concepts. These are especially helpful when presenting where themes differ depending on the focus group member or the topic explored in the discussion. The Networks tool can also provide visualizations of the relationships between codes to help your audiences more clearly understand abstract or theoretical concepts.

For example, suppose that your focus group analysis has identified criteria for customer satisfaction and their corresponding definitions. You can draw relationships between the codes representing your criteria to codes representing their respective definitions in a network to make the overall concept of customer satisfaction easier for your audience to understand.