On-Focus: A Web-Based Platform for Planning, Organizing, and Managing Focus Groups
MS Project Report Submitted by Nnamdi Chuka-Maduji to the Faculty of the Department of Computer Science at Montclair State University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science Computer Science (MS Computer Science).
Advisor: Dr. Vaibhav K. Anu
Focus groups are a research methodology that researchers use to get qualitative data about a subject matter or a product. Owing to the Covid outbreak in 2019 and the prevalence of group think in focus groups, a web-based platform called On-Focus was developed as a means for researchers to organize and manage focus groups online. On-Focus was developed by following the recommended design approach for conducting focus groups found in literatures. With On-Focus, researchers can filter out participants that are not a fit for the focus group by asking questions that are filled by participants before they send a request to participate. Researcher are required to enter a list of agendas for a focus group before they can create one. Also, the researcher can hide the visibility of a participants’ chat during a focus group as a way of preventing group think in the meeting. Additionally, researchers can quickly get a quantitative response to a question by using the polling functionality. A focus group was created to evaluate the effectiveness of On-Focus. The participants comprised of students from the Montclair State University’s Computer Science Department. During the simulation of the focus group, the participants and the moderator tested out the various functionalities of the application. After the simulation, the participants were given a survey that asked Usability questions about On-Focus. From the results that were gotten from the evaluation, On-Focus is an effective tool for conducting focus group research online with the added benefits of elimination of group think and a means to quickly get a quantitative response from participants by using the polling functionality.