Focus groups are a qualitative research technique which can be applied to program evaluation with low income clients. Focus groups are relatively easy to organize and operate, can be less expensive than other research techniques, can provide quick feedback, and possess the potential to empower low income clients.

This paper discusses the development of focus groups, their strengths and weaknesses, and their utility in program evaluation. An example of their use in the evaluation of a state low income energy program is provided along with some guidelines for their use with low income respondents.

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