Focus groups discussions are commonly used in Market Research to derive qualitative insights. It could be defined as a group of interacting individuals, brought together by a moderator or interviewer, who drives the group and its interaction as a way to gain information about a specific research topic.
A focus group is typically 7-10 people who are unfamiliar with each other. Ideally, these participants possess distinct demographic characteristics (gender, age, education, income & occupation) and are representative of target consumer whom one wishes to target. Additionally, these participants are selected because they have some common interest or characteristics with respect to the subject of research. The moderator creates a participative environment that encourages different perceptions and points of views, without including their own bias or pressuring participants to choose a side or reach a consensus.
Focus groups can be of great help in areas of planning/designing new products or assessing consumer behavior/perception for existing products.