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Choose one of the approaches you've explored in previous weeks, and write a reflective post in your blog that answers the following questions. Work though these questions systematically, and try to write a paragraph or two for each:
As mentioned on the previews blog post, a Focus Group is a type of in-depth interview accomplished in a group, whose meetings present characteristics defined with respect to the proposal, size, composition, and interview procedures. (FREITAS (H.), OLIVEIRA (M.), JENKINS (M.), and POPJOY (O.)., 1998).
The main purpose of a focus group research is to draw upon respondents’ attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions in a way in which would not be feasible using other methods. (Gibbs, 1997).
To better understand the practical use of Focus Groups here are some Q & A that might help you when assessing a research.
What does the clients like most about a product?
Which activities are best for children K-12 to learn English?
What does the public appreciate the most when going to X restaurant?
As you can see, these three questions could be answered by any research methods, but when using them at Focus Groups you can hear what each participant discuss about what they think is the best answer, and you can perceive attitudes, feelings, from them.
The interaction between participants highlights their view of the world, the language they use about an issue and their values and beliefs about a situation. (Kitzinger, 1994)
Usually this method can be used at the preliminary or exploratory stages of a study, it can be used as a method in its own or as a complement to other methods for validity checking.
An example of the use of focus groups is the study named: “Using focus groups to develop HIV education among adolescent females in Zimbabwe” (Munodawafa D., Gwede C., Mubayira C. , 1995)
In this study, the researchers developed focus groups with 78 girls from Zimbabwe to assess need for HIV/AIDS prevention and education. This research helped to develop ideas for future efforts in developing comprehensive AIDS prevention and education programs to target adolescent and adult males.
As said before we might notice that with the discussion at the mentioned focus groups, the researchers are able to develop the need of prevention education, identifying who needs it and in which specific subjects. Otherwise, we can see how the discussion guides to conclusions joining different perspectives. The ethical issues are also shown since girls that participate share what they know, and what they had experienced towards this topic.
Also, the AIDS Media Research Project (Kitzinger J. , 1994) used the focus group method to explore how media messages are processed by audiences and how understandings of AIDS are constructed. In this study, they conducted a total of 52 different discussions, with 351 participants. These discussions had a peculiarity, since they used pre-existing groups the discussion was easier and with deeper information, which gave an advantage to what the researcher obtained. This study was completed through survey information, in which they got the general information and through the focus groups they look to gather more details.
In my opinion, focus groups are a good first approach when developing a study or program. Having the opportunity to talk to people working or experiencing your question gives you a very near understanding of the specific issue.
Bibliography FREITAS (H.), OLIVEIRA (M.), JENKINS (M.), and POPJOY (O.). (1998). The Focus Group, a qualitative research method. ISRC, Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore, 22.
Gibbs, A. (1997). Focus Groups. Department of Sociology, University of Surrey.
Kitzinger, J. (1994). The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interaction between research participants. Sociology of Health, 103-121.
Kitzinger, J. (1994). The methodology of Focus Groups: the importance of interaction between research participants. Sociology of Health & Illness Vol. 16 No. 1, 105-121.
Munodawafa D., Gwede C., Mubayira C. . (1995). Using focus groups to develop HIV education among adolescent females in Zimbabwe. Health Promotion 10 (2), 85-92.