The Pitfalls and Promise of Focus Groups as a Data Collection Method

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/615820
Title:
The Pitfalls and Promise of Focus Groups as a Data Collection Method
Author:
Cyr, J.
Affiliation:
Univ Arizona, Sch Govt & Publ Policy, Polit Sci & Latin Amer Studies
Issue Date:
2015-02-05
Publisher:
SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
Citation:
The Pitfalls and Promise of Focus Groups as a Data Collection Method 2015, 45 (2):231 Sociological Methods & Research
Journal:
Sociological Methods & Research
Rights:
© The Author(s) 2015
Collection Information:
This item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at repository@u.library.arizona.edu.
Abstract:
Despite their long trajectory in the social sciences, few systematic works analyze how often and for what purposes focus groups appear in published works. This study fills this gap by undertaking a meta-analysis of focus group use over the last 10 years. It makes several contributions to our understanding of when and why focus groups are used in the social sciences. First, the study explains that focus groups generate data at three units of analysis, namely, the individual, the group, and the interaction. Although most researchers rely upon the individual unit of analysis, the method’s comparative advantage lies in the group and interactive units. Second, it reveals strong affinities between each unit of analysis and the primary motivation for using focus groups as a data collection method. The individual unit of analysis is appropriate for triangulation; the group unit is appropriate as a pretest; and the interactive unit is appropriate for exploration. Finally, it offers a set of guidelines that researchers should adopt when presenting focus groups as part of their research design. Researchers should, first, state the main purpose of the focus group in a research design; second, identify the primary unit of analysis exploited; and finally, list the questions used to collect data in the focus group.
Note:
Online First Version of Record - Feb. 5, 2015 / Version of Record Apr. 10, 2016 / SAGE Green Route - Once the article has been accepted for publication, you may post the accepted version (version 2) of the article on your own personal website, your department’s website or the repository of your institution without any restrictions.
ISSN:
0049-1241; 1552-8294
DOI:
10.1177/0049124115570065
Keywords:
focus groups; qualitative methods; mixed methods; research transparency; social sciences
Version:
Final accepted manuscript
Additional Links:
http://smr.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/0049124115570065

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorCyr, J.en
dc.date.accessioned2016-07-09T00:18:03Z-
dc.date.available2016-07-09T00:18:03Z-
dc.date.issued2015-02-05-
dc.identifier.citationThe Pitfalls and Promise of Focus Groups as a Data Collection Method 2015, 45 (2):231 Sociological Methods & Researchen
dc.identifier.issn0049-1241-
dc.identifier.issn1552-8294-
dc.identifier.doi10.1177/0049124115570065-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/615820-
dc.description.abstractDespite their long trajectory in the social sciences, few systematic works analyze how often and for what purposes focus groups appear in published works. This study fills this gap by undertaking a meta-analysis of focus group use over the last 10 years. It makes several contributions to our understanding of when and why focus groups are used in the social sciences. First, the study explains that focus groups generate data at three units of analysis, namely, the individual, the group, and the interaction. Although most researchers rely upon the individual unit of analysis, the method’s comparative advantage lies in the group and interactive units. Second, it reveals strong affinities between each unit of analysis and the primary motivation for using focus groups as a data collection method. The individual unit of analysis is appropriate for triangulation; the group unit is appropriate as a pretest; and the interactive unit is appropriate for exploration. Finally, it offers a set of guidelines that researchers should adopt when presenting focus groups as part of their research design. Researchers should, first, state the main purpose of the focus group in a research design; second, identify the primary unit of analysis exploited; and finally, list the questions used to collect data in the focus group.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS INCen
dc.relation.urlhttp://smr.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/0049124115570065en
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2015en
dc.subjectfocus groupsen
dc.subjectqualitative methodsen
dc.subjectmixed methodsen
dc.subjectresearch transparencyen
dc.subjectsocial sciencesen
dc.titleThe Pitfalls and Promise of Focus Groups as a Data Collection Methoden
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentUniv Arizona, Sch Govt & Publ Policy, Polit Sci & Latin Amer Studiesen
dc.identifier.journalSociological Methods & Researchen
dc.description.noteOnline First Version of Record - Feb. 5, 2015 / Version of Record Apr. 10, 2016 / SAGE Green Route - Once the article has been accepted for publication, you may post the accepted version (version 2) of the article on your own personal website, your department’s website or the repository of your institution without any restrictions.en
dc.description.collectioninformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at repository@u.library.arizona.edu.en
dc.eprint.versionFinal accepted manuscripten
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