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Abstract

This article questions the use of focus groups for assessing consumer attitudes. A repeated-measures research design was used to determine whether the interaction and discussion among focus-group participants changed their attitudes. Experimental results indicate that focus-group participants' overall attitudes, beliefs, intentions to purchase, and preferences shifted from positions previously held. More attitude depolarization occurred in focus groups than in two benchmark methods, the nominal group technique and individual self-administered surveys. The output gained from focus-group interviews may generalize more to settings involving interpersonal rather than intrapersonal consumption or purchase processes. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.