Focus group observation grid

Observation grid of nonverbal behaviors during FG


The observation grid is an important tool to help the assistant moderator; in fact, with this tool he/her can collect all the elements that his/her recorder cannot memorize: the nonverbal behaviours such as gestures, posture, and special looks etc.

Therefore, the assistant moderator must use the recorder and take notes of each participant interventions at the same time.

As taking notes of the behaviour of participants is fundamental for the success of the FG, we have prepared a simple and easy-to-use grid.

It is necessary to give each participant a number with which it will be possible to identify themselves in the interventions’ transcription.

You are allowed to change the grid as you wish.


  • Before beginning, briefly describe the feeling of the group.
  • Then take note of the basic attitudes of each participant in the following areas and make a note of any changes during the meeting and the moment they happen.


A Social and emotional area

A1 He/she is a collaborating person. He/she accepts comments from the others regarding their topics. He/she listens.  J

A2 He/she is not paying attention to other speakers.  K

A3 He/she obstructs, jokes, is aggressive.  L


B Task area

B1 He/she expresses opinions; he/she makes observations in a respectful and polite way.  J

B2. He/she does not intervene often; he/she has few ideas.  K

B3. He/she intervenes out of the context. He/she argues.  L


  • During interventions


Take note when a participant moves around and changes his/her place.

It is important to note down, next to the synthesis of the intervention, the nonverbal behaviours as well: posture, gestures, voice pitch, talking speed, any long pauses, babbling and so on. At the end of the intervention a brief opinion on sincerity, enthusiasm, participation is welcome.   

You can use the following small colored signs:  L