A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. During this process, the researcher either takes notes or records the vital points he or she is getting from the group. Care should be noted to select members of the group carefully for effective and authoritative responses.
Focus groups have a long history and were used[by whom?] during the Second World War (1939-1945) to examine the effectiveness of propaganda. Associate director sociologist Robert K. Merton set up focus groups at the Bureau of Applied Social Research in the USA prior to 1976. Psychologist and marketing expert Ernest Dichter coined the term "focus group" itself before his death in 1991.？