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Technical Note: Focus Group Interviews

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Focus group interviews (FGIs, also often called focus group discussions) are a key tool for collecting data to support many USAID activities. This data collection technique is widely used in international development planning, monitoring and evaluation. They are quick, versatile and typically inexpensive, so they can be used with a broad range of stakeholder groups in a wide variety of settings. Because they allow evaluators to obtain a wealth of in-depth qualitative information, they often are combined with quantitative methods, such as surveys, to help explain the “why” or the “how” of observed statistical trends. FGIs typically offer greater descriptive depth than what is provided through surveys and a broader base of perspectives than often is obtained through individual interviews. For these reasons, FGIs are commonly included as part of both impact and performance evaluations.