Using focus groups in Cambodia can be tricky. The qualitative focus group tool, used in Western countries for more than 50 years, is still relatively new in Cambodia and used less frequently.
Nevertheless, focus groups can be a helpful tool to probe, generate and generally “deep dive” into subjects that sometimes are not ideally suited for other research techniques.
HOWEVER, for Cambodian focus groups, you need to keep in mind to the following factors:
- Time of Day – If the groups are among employed workers, then obviously they should be scheduled after work i.e. after 6pm and allow for travel in sometimes rush hour traffic. If conducted with housewives, domestic workers or stay-at-home women, the best time should be after 10 or 11am or over the lunch period. For students, unless conducted on campus timing should be flexible to attract most participants outside their class schedules.
- Venue – The venue should not be too low or too high class, as that can make the participants feel uncomfortable. If the participants are female, it is important not to schedule groups in a hotel, as some ladies feel uncomfortable as a single woman going into a hotel unescorted.
- Gender – In general Cambodian men feel they are more knowledgable and stronger than women, so normally they are more active participants in the groups. Hovever, with the younger generation, young women are becoming more outwardly comfortable and participate almost equally to men. It is also suggested to use female moderator if the groups are with women; conversely, male moderators for men’s groups.
- 4. Age Grouping – Wide differences in age of group participants should be avoided. Many times older people will not discuss their ideas with young people, and younger people will be hesitant to be open with their “elders” sitting at the table. Normally, it is best to split groups by general age characteristics, i.e. older versus younger..
- Expert Moderator – This is especially important in Cambodia. As a society Cambodians are sometimes hesitant talk openly in front of strangers. The moderator needs to manage the group to get satisfactory feedback on the topics, participation by all and finish the group on time. The moderator in Cambodia works harder in the group than in other developed countries.
- Topic – Although in Western countries “politics” can be carefully discussed, in Cambodia, people do not want to talk about politics with someone they don’t know well. This is a topic that must be avoided.
At Leverage Research Solutions, we know the Cambodian consumer well,so our focus groups are tailored to our country’s people. That guarantees we get the information our clients need to make better business and marketing decisions.