response to discusion1 what about focus groups

Respond to one of your colleagues’ posts with a suggestion about using a focus group for their research idea. Your suggestion may include 3–4 interview questions to ask, considerations for sampling; or how to manage recruiting participants.

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4 days ago

Kastina Hayes

RE: Discussion 1 – Week 6


Main Question Post.

Interviews vs. Focus Groups

Focus groups are an excellent way of collecting qualitative data and have been used for almost a century (Morgan, 1998). A method with longevity such as this shows effectiveness. Krueger and Casey (2000) found that research participants feel less threatened in focus groups. Additionally, the focus group environment encourages the participants to share ideas, thoughts, and opinions (Krueger & Casey, 2000). This means that focus groups are a safe place for people to express their true feelings about a certain phenomena. All of the participants have a common shared experience that makes the participants more comfortable to open up to the discussion.

Interviews are a one-on-one method of collecting data. The participant confidentially shares experiences with the researcher in an intimate setting. Focus groups are composed of many participants that speak in the group setting about their experiences. The participants take turns speaking, while the moderator leads the group. Focus group information is kept confidential as well.

Kennedy, Kools, and Krueger (2001) believed the main difference between interviews and focus groups is the rich data that comes from the focus group. Though the data from focus groups might be rich, more in-depth information comes from interviews (Kennedy, Kools, and Krueger, 2001). The whole interview time is allotted to the participant. Therefore, there is more time for one-on-one conversation. The participant does not have to share time with other participants. The participant will feel like his or her time and information is valuable. While the single participant in an interview might feel valuable being the only person sharing, in the focus group setting, one participant might share information that another participant have not thought of previously. Therefore, the focus group could spark a memory from other participants and allow them to recall more information. Conversely, Kennedy et al. (2001) believed a drawback to focus groups could be that participants might cling on to others’ experience without reflecting on their own experience. This means that some participants may sit around and listen more instead of sharing their own experiences.

My Data Collection

The topic in which I am currently using for my research is the effects of childhood sexual abuse on adult intimate relationships. I believe focus groups will be a great way to collect data for my research. I initially wanted to use interviews, and I still do. However, now that I understand focus groups more, I will definitely want to use focus groups. Krueger and Casey (2000) believed that focus groups are a quick and efficient way of obtaining qualitative data. Therefore, the overall number of participants is greater (Krueger, 2000). This means that more quality information can be obtained in a shorter amount of time. Focus groups are comprised of six to eight participants, and last for about an hour or two (Laureate Education [Producer], 2016). Thus, from each focus group, the number of participants and obtaining their experiences are magnified. Furthermore, the discussion among the participants is more likely to lead to spontaneous responses (Butler, 1996).

Reflection and Questions

I see the benefits of both interviews and focus groups. I am interested in using both interviews and focus groups for my research. However, I question if there is a limit to the types of data collection methods a researcher can use. For instance, for my topic, would I be able to use both methods of collecting data or just one? If I am only able to use one method, I would have to say I would use the focus group as opposed to interviews. I believe more valuable information can come from focus groups because everyone is sharing their thoughts on the phenomena. In the interview, the participant may be too shy or embarrassed to share in the allotted time. It just seems like more time might be wasted in individual interviews and in the focus group any one of the participants can get the conversation started.


Butler, S. (1996). Child protection or professional self-preservation by the baby nurses?: Public health nurses and child protection in Ireland. Social Science & Medicine, 43, 303–314.

Kennedy, C., Kools, S. & Krueger, R. (2001). Methodological considerations in children’s focus groups. Nursing Research, 50, 184-187.

Krueger, R. A. (2000). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Krueger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2000). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied researchers (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016). How to plan and conduct a focus group [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Morgan, D. L. (1998). The focus group guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.