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How to Conduct Focus Groups

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How to do focus groups. Week 7 in the research design course.

How to Conduct Focus Groups

  1. 1. ACS 301 October 16, 2008 Qual Methods III: Focus Groups
  2. 2. Key themes <ul><li>What are focus groups? </li></ul><ul><li>Advantages and disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative versions of focus groups </li></ul><ul><li>How to do it: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How many? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selecting participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recording and transcriptions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. The Focus Group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnV1pS7qVD8
  4. 4. What are focus groups? I’d like to speak with you all about your opinions on… --- -------, ----, ? ----- ---- ! ---? --- ---.
  5. 5. Advantages I’d like to know what all of you think of French immersion. Do you think we should have more, less or the same amount of it? More, but not too much more. Less, definitely. Less. I think. About the same. I guess. No, no! Less! Interesting. Why do you all disagree?
  6. 6. Advantages I’d like to know what all of you think of French immersion. Do you think we should have more, less or the same amount of it? More, but not too much more. Less, definitely. Less. I think. About the same. I guess. No, no! Less! Interesting. Why do you all disagree? Ability to ask many people about “why” Ability to observe and de-code disagreements Can learn how groups make sense of the topic
  7. 7. Disadvantages Great. Thank you, Carl. Anyone else? And another thing, I really hate how high gas prices are! Ok, Carl. Thanks Oh and don’t get me started about the GST!! Why…
  8. 8. Disadvantages Great. Thank you, Carl. Anyone else? And another thing, I really hate how high gas prices are! Ok, Carl. Thanks Oh and don’t get me started about the GST!! Why… Difficulty in getting people in the same room Difficulty controlling conversation Dominant personalities Huge amount of data Hard to analyze
  9. 9. Focus group variation: the “dyad” So you two play squash together. Tell me about that experience. Well Jim is really the player…I’m the hack! Oh sure, Steve. He’s pretty good himself! Ah, so self-deprecating humour is important in squash.
  10. 10. Online Focus Groups Asynchronous or synchronous Custom software Lacking in “thick description”
  11. 11. Size: a critical factor --- -------, ----, ? ----- ---- ! ---? --- ---. There’s just too many people! --- -------, ----, ?
  12. 12. Size: a critical factor --- -------, ----, ? ----- ---- ! ---? --- ---. There’s just too many people! --- -------, ----, ? 6-10 max (Morgan, 1998a) Small when there’s lots to say or a controversy Large when opinions are likely brief
  13. 13. Whom to recruit? <ul><li>Do they know each other? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they friends, acquaintances or strangers? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Moderator qualities I’m very good thinking on the fly. I like people. I’m comfortable in groups. I can lead conversations. I don’t like groups very much. I take awhile to think about what I’d like to say. I’m an introvert. I like others to lead conversations.  
  15. 15. How to do focus groups

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