Conduct research

Reporting focus group results

STEP 7. Transcribe and analyze the data

Data analysis may be relatively simple, involving a summary of major themes, or may call for more complex content analyses and comparisons of groups (Goldenkoff, 2004). A brief summary and analysis, highlighting major themes, is sufficient when the results are readily apparent or the purpose of the focus group is supplemental. On the other hand, to get an in-depth understanding of a complex issue you should conduct a systematic analysis using full transcripts [more] and a formalized coding scheme. [more]

STEP 8. Determine findings

View analyzed data from a distance until you see a larger picture and understand how this picture relates to your research question(s). Similar research may help you make sense of repeating ideas and larger themes. For example, you might identify underlying factors that explain the themes you have observed and then construct a logical chain of evidence. You might also describe an adaptive or maladaptive process that captures the behavior of respondents. If there are respondents who do not follow the usual pattern, it may be important to understand why. Qualitative researchers need to be flexible and open to the unexpected.  Drawing on repeating ideas and themes, summarize the findings in relation to your research question(s) and to previous research. [more]

STEP 9. Report results

To report qualitative results, present repeating ideas that lead to major themes that, in turn, inform conclusions and implications. Conclusions are statements that interpret and evaluate the results found from the study.  Make sure to give primary emphasis to the results that relate to the research questions of your study. 

Quote one or two responses that exemplify a repeating idea. Quotations, which capture the words, emotions, experiences, and perceptions of interviewees, are not easily dismissed by readers. You may also want to quote a response that was an exception to a trend in order to illustrate a minority opinion or highlight a noteworthy idea. If so, report that it is one person's response.

Finally, make sure to discuss what practical or theoretical implications can be drawn for your findings, any major shortcomings or limitations of the methodology used, and directions or suggestions for future research.  [more]

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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