Designing and Conducting Focus Groups

2024 Dates

Session 1: January 8-9, 2024
Session 2: January 10-11, 2024
Session 3: March 4-5, 2024

About the Course

These two-day courses on designing and conducting focus groups are useful prior to, during and after programs, events or experiences. They are helpful in assessing needs, generating information, developing plans, testing new programs and ideas, improving existing programs and evaluating outcomes.

This course is an interactive, intensive (yet enjoyable) overview of focus group procedures that can be used in public and non-profit environments. Practical approaches to determining the appropriate use of focus group studies, design options, developing questions, recruiting participants, moderating skills, and analyzing and reporting results are emphasized.

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the process and procedures for planning successful focus group studies
  • Demonstrate ability to moderate focus groups
  • Develop workable and useful questions for focus group studies
  • Identify several strategies for analyzing focus group results

About the Instructors

John M. LaVelle, PhD, is a University of Minnesota Assistant Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. LaVelle’s work focuses on the formal development of the evaluation profession including evaluation theory and practice, research on evaluation, the teaching of evaluation, and more.

Tentative Schedule

Focus Group sessions will be meeting in-person on the Twin Cities campus.

Day 1

8:30am Class Begins
Overview of Focus Groups
9:45am Break
A Focus Group Experience & Moderator Skills
11:00am Break
Moderator Skills continued
How Organizations are Using Focus Groups
12:00pm Lunch
1:00pm Asking Questions that Yield Powerful Information
2:00pm Break
Developing a Questioning Route
3:00pm Break
Analysis of Focus Groups – Part 1
4:00pm Individual Consultations & Questions
4:30pm Adjourn

Day 2

8:30am Practice Sessions
10:30am Break
Analysis of Focus Groups – Part 2
12:00pm Lunch
1:00pm Analysis continued
2:00pm Break
Selecting, Inviting, Incentives:
Focus Group Participants – Getting People to Attend
3:00pm Break
Special Problems with Focus Groups
Equipment, Environment & Participants
Determining the Cost of a Focus Group Study
Reporting Focus Group Results
Summary & Evaluation
4:00pm Individual Consultations & Questions
4:30pm Adjourn

Non-Credit Continuing Education Registration

The registration fee for this two-day workshop is $595. You will receive an email letter outlining program logistics two weeks prior to the start of the workshop.

Requests for refunds will be honored in full if a written cancellation request is received 7 days prior to the course date. After that date, a $50 administration fee will be charged to all refund requests. The Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach (CPHEO) reserves the right to cancel any course. In the event of a course cancellation, registrants will receive a full refund of the program registration fee. CPHEO is not responsible for refunds of travel or other costs incurred by registrants.

The Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach will provide a certificate of attendance verifying 1.5 CEUs (15 contact hours) offered for this program.

Non-credit registration begins on November 1 and can be accessed through the University Learning site:

Graduate Credit Option

Admitted Students:
Participants admitted to a University of Minnesota degree program will follow University of Minnesota registration procedures for the spring semester. The course is PubH 7250 and is offered for one semester graduate credit. If a permission number is needed, please email Meghan Taylor (

Non Admitted Students:
Participants who are not admitted to a University of Minnesota degree program may also register for graduate credit. Complete the form below, scan and email it to Meghan Taylor, who will complete your registration for the course. The student must complete parts 1, 2, and 4 of the form. Non-admitted students must make arrangements for University of Minnesota credit by January 2 or February 26, depending on your chosen session. If you have questions or need help registering, please email Meghan Taylor at

View Registration Form (PDF)


Your University of Minnesota student account will bill you for tuition and fees. Other student fees may apply depending on your student status and credit load for the spring semester. Tuition and fees for students enrolled in other University of Minnesota colleges and departments apply.

Enrollment is limited. Early registration is encouraged.

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