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Political Research Groups: How To Create And Run a Focus Group

Adam R.
March 22, 2023

Political Research Groups: How To Create And Run a Focus Group

Political Research Groups

Focus group testing is an essential activity for any modern day research campaign. Whether you’re in academia, business, or the world of politics - odds are, you’ve likely encountered a situation that demands audience feedback.

In this article, we will look at defining what political focus groups are, how to go about creating one, and how these gatherings can be used as powerful tools for collecting valuable insight.

What Are Political Focus Groups?

A political research or focus group is concerned with exploring topics related to issues like: law, world events, policy, campaigns, elections, or any other topic pertaining to the field of politics. These groups are usually made up of voters, who are selected from a random sampling of individuals from across the United States. 

Political Focus Groups

Research: How to Form a Political Focus Group

The first step to forming your own political focus group is to identify a target audience. No two focus groups are the same; they’re made up of unique and distinct individuals who often share one or more similar characteristics with other individuals. Your research participant demographics are key to understanding who your audience is and what behavioral patterns they share.

One of the most common demographic segments targeted by political research groups is voters (or non-voters). In order to target these specific blocs of research participants, researchers utilize digital surveys or testing software in order to gain access to captive and motivated audiences. 

Additionally, online testing services like Helpfull enable researchers to select customers along dozens of other unique demographic segments, allowing them to fine-tune their audience selection to a limitless specificity.

How Large Should My Sample Size Be?

For a detailed look at how you can calculate your audience sample size, visit our Helpfull guide.

The exact number of participants you recruit for your political research testing depends on your budget, your specific testing needs, and the number of resources you’re able to dedicate to the project. Time, money, manpower - these inputs are all necessary for running a smooth and successful research campaign.

Generally, the more participants you can gather for your study - the closer your sample will be to a true representation of the greater population. However, in cases where more qualitative answers are demanded, smaller sample size may be more pertinent. 

sample size of political focus group

How to Write Political Research Questions

All political research questions should be developed around a clear and concise central topic. Each question should no more seek to explore than one core idea; otherwise you run the risk of running a double-barreled question

When developing your research questions, make sure that they are:

  • Relevant
  • Concise
  • Clear

Rushing the development of your testing design could lead to faulty survey questions that are double-barreled, or incomplete. These survey questions do more harm to your research process than good, and impede your ability to collect data.

When developing research questions, make sure they never:

  • Never ask the participant to answer two questions with one answer
  • Ex. “Did you find our customer service to be quick and reliable?”
  • Never leave out potential answers from your answer-set
  • When in doubt, always include a neutral or opt-out answer like “None of the Above” or “Other”.
  • Never attempt to lead or direct your audience to a specific answer
  • Ex. “Do you agree that the President is doing a terrible job running this country?”

What Questions to Include in a Political Research Survey

Questions to Include in a Political Research Survey

Creating a full and complete question set for your political survey begins with the framing question.In order to make full use of your captive audience, you must first identify the specific needs and goals of your research survey. 

Common goals for political research survey groups include:

  • Informing policy decisions
  • Gathering voter sentiment on a particular trend or issue
  • Voter engagement
  • Increasing awareness for a topic or issue
  • Developing an existing voting bloc

Examples of quality political focus group questions are as such:

25 Examples of Effective Political Focus Group Questions

  1. What issues are the most important to you?
  2. If you could change one thing about the country you live in, what would it be?
  3. Who do you trust to give you true information?
  4. Which platforms do you spend the most time consuming news on?
  5. How would you identify yourself politically? (Liberal, Conservative, etc.)
  6. Can you tell me about the last political campaign advertisement you saw on TV?
  7. How do you feel about the current process for voting in elections?
  8. In your opinion, what are the 3 biggest problems facing America today?
  9. Do you vote in national/local/state elections?
  10. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how satisfied you are with the direction this current administration is taking the country; with 1 being “Extremely Disappointed” and 10 being “Extremely Satisfied”.
  11. Are you registered to vote?
  12. As a voter, have you ever been the victim of disenfranchisement?
  13. What are the key traits you look for in a politician?
  14. Have you ever attended a political rally?
  15. Have you ever signed up to be on an email list for a political campaign/issue?
  16. Are you formally involved in any political organizations?
  17. Which political media personality do you trust the most?
  18. Is this your first time responding to a political survey?
  19. Have you ever participated in a political campaign?
  20. Have you ever been made to feel unsafe when voting?
  21. Have you ever donated to a political campaign?
  22. Were your political opinions informed by your family members?
  23. How do you judge political candidates when deciding who to vote for?
  24. Do you feel your vote matters?
  25. What are your thoughts on increasing (or not) the amount of justices on the Supreme Court?

Final Thoughts

Political focus groups are a valuable research tool for gathering new insights into how citizens feel about the issues dominating the present moment. They can shape political campaigns, develop consensus on issues, and even shape the very future of the nation. 

Political researchers on Helpfull get access to thousands of US residents from dozens of unique backgrounds and demographics; receiving instant political feedback that enables them to keep their pulse on the thoughts of voters all across America. 

Get the feedback you need to succeed - sign up with Helpfull today, and get surveying within minutes!

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