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Myths About Focus Groups > Focus Groups Forecast How People Behave

Renderas:sect3. Focus Groups Forecast How People Behave

Focus groups, individual interviews, and surveys all rely on verbal reports. They tell you how people say they will behave; this data consists of attitudes. As social psychologists know, predicting behavior from attitudes is a tricky business. Often, no matter how sincerely people believe they will do something, when it comes right down to it, they often do something else. Survey researchers have dealt with this myth for years—carefully explaining that the kind of attitudes captured by surveys may not be strong predictors of actual behavior.

The same problem occurs with focus groups. In fact, this myth may be even stronger for focus groups because you witness people saying what they will do. Not only do you get to hear people talk about their likely behavior, you can watch the group validate these statements as everyone nods and murmurs agreement. This evidence of how people will behave can be quite compelling, but it is far from conclusive.


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