Computer technology and the exponential growth in social media provide unlimited opportunities for groups of people, separated by distance, to participate in dynamic, engaging, online communication. Increasingly, the opportunity to connect people and harness online communication in a more structured way, using online focus groups, is being recognized.

An online focus group capitalizes on group dynamics, interaction, discussion, and debate, the hallmarks of traditional focus groups, by bringing people together in an online environment to discuss issues, views, attitudes, perceptions, products, services, and programs. The value of online focus groups is that they remove the need for people to be located in one place at one time.

Using various software, Web-based or cloud platforms, online focus groups can be conducted as synchronous or asynchronous group discussions. ...

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