Conduct research

Focus group findings

Give greater weight to themes raised by several people across different groups and to comments expressed with great emotion. In addition, give greater consideration to responses that are specific and based on personal experiences than responses that are vague and impersonal. When interpreting specific focus group comments, consider the verbal context in which the comment was said and be wary when participants change or reverse their position after interaction with others.

Verify your conclusions by reviewing your data repeatedly to check that the conclusions are grounded in what was said. Make sure that you are voicing the views of participants rather than your own. Look at independent evidence from other sources and use other methods, such as surveys, interviews, or experiments, to verify your conclusions. To improve the study's reliability and validity, show your results to some of the focus group participants and ask them if you have accurately recorded what they meant

Additional information

Berkowitz, S. (1997). Analyzing Qualitative Data. In J. Frechtling, L. Sharp, and Westat (Eds.), User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations (Chapter 4). Retrieved June 21, 2006 from National Science Foundation, Directorate of Education and Human Resources Web site: http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/EHR/REC/pubs/NSF97-153/CHAP_4.HTM

Krueger, R. A. & Casey, M. A. (2000). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Seidel, J. V. (1998). Qualitative Data Analysis. Retrieved June 21, 2006 from: http://www.qualisresearch.com/QDA.htm

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