The focus group interview is an increasingly common qualitative research method used by health professionals. General approaches to conducting focus groups have been published. There has, however, been minimal exploration of issues regarding the use of focus groups with palliative care populations and data analysis procedures have been underreported. The aim of this paper is to provide a guide for conducting focus groups drawing on palliative care examples. A succinct outline of why, when and how to use focus groups is offered. Key ethical and practical issues are explored as well as considerations for data analysis. This guide offers researchers and clinicians fundamental strategies for the use of focus groups within the palliative care context.