The focus group method of inquiry has become immensely popular and influential in contemporary culture. It has been used in a wide variety of ways, from developing advertising campaigns for toothpaste to managing images of public figures, including presidents of the United States. Cartoons about focus groups abound inmajor newspapers and high-profilemagazines. One cartoon depicts people in a focus group as “out of focus,”and another portrays Jesus with his disciples as “the first focus group.” Although focus groups were not likely used in biblical times, they probably did find their way into early fieldwork of anthropologists and sociologists. But it wasn’t until Paul Lazersfeld and Robert Merton implemented the “focused interviews”with groups in the 1940s to study the response of soldiers to “morale” films that the technique was legitimized and widely disseminated as a method of inquiry (Merton, Fiske, & Kendall, 1990). This work led Merton and Patricia Kendall to write an article about the method for the American Journal of Sociology in 1946, which was followed by The Focused Interview in 1956 (Merton, Fiske, & Kendall, 1956/1990.) Although these seminal contributions to the focus group literature continue to be recognized, the focus group method came of age not in the social sciences but in its applications in the arena of marketing (Morgan, 1988; Templeton, 1988). Apparently, whatever value it had for purely scientific purposes, it also became extremely useful in the business of determining consumer preferences and promoting products. Nevertheless, its place in the repertoire of alternatives for basic and applied qualitative research remains secure.