Focus Groups Are More Than Just Interviews

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Focus Groups are more than just Interviews Focus groups are known to have existing before WW11, however, it was in the 1940’s sociologist Robert Merton embraced and pioneered the qualitative research method of focus groups. Merton’s study observed and recorded the effects of educational propaganda and conditioning on troop morale. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until the 1980’s, focus groups were rediscovered and became a common method of qualitative research within social sciences. Subsequently, more studies over the years have helped to develop and refine focus group methods. Qualitative methods such as focus groups are a collaboration between the researcher and participants to gain a rich, deep…show more content…
Focus groups are organised, group discussions between group members and the researcher, and are most suitably used for exploring specific topics, on points of view, exploring attitudes and personal experiences in order to obtain data. In contrast to interviews that asks a specific set of questions. The role of the focus group researcher is essentially to steer the direction of group discussion or to provoke participation through further questioning when all seems flat. The researcher needs to collect data, during the discussion. Also, prevent an individual participant from dominating the discussion and encourage the more reserved participant. Finally the researcher must at all times ensure flexibility, objectiveness and empathy and analyse collected data for the report. According to Forsyth (2010, p. 130) Tuckmann and Jensen’s (1977) model of characteristics within a group, consist of four stages of process, the first or initial stage, ‘forming’ is when individuals within the group have not articulated any view and have little trust and no conflict is present, however, there is an element of apprehension. The second stage, ‘storming’ takes place as participants in the group start to become less apprehensive, more trustful and start to assess each other through subtle and not so subtle arbitration, exploring their
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