Volume 23, Issue 68 (February 2011)                   IJN 2011, 23(68): 19-30 | Back to browse issues page

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Sh. Khosravi, Zh. Abed saeedi. Focus group, a data gathering method. IJN. 2011; 23 (68) :19-30
URL: http://ijn.iums.ac.ir/article-1-910-en.html
Doctoral Student, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (*Corresponding Author) Tell: 09121714150 , khsh08@gmail.com
Abstract:   (11827 Views)

  Introduction: Using focus group to collect data is a valuable method for qualitative researchers. This method is being used increasingly in nursing research. It can provide rich information about a special topic through group dynamics. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review on characteristics of and implementing focus group as a data collection method.

  Content: A focus group is a semi-structured group session which is moderated by a group leader and held in an informal setting to collect information about a designated topic. The main characteristic of a focus group is the presentation of information and knowledge through interaction between the moderator and the group, as well as group members. Open-ended questions result in extended, in-depth and rich information. Also, participants' non-verbal responses can complete their verbal responses. Focus groups are used to study several qualitative subjects in the fields of politics, consumers' satisfaction, health subjects, quality of care evaluation, designing instruments and so on.

  Main components of a focus group include skilled moderator, proper participants, appropriate place and time, and correct implementation of the process. The moderator is responsible not only for guiding the participants through the discussion, but also for looking after the group dynamics to ensure that all participants dominate the discussion. Ideally, two people will be needed to conduct each focus group, one as the moderator and the other as note-taker. Using a discussion guide can help in effective data collection and the researcher can also use probing questions to reach in-depth information. Selecting proper participants is necessary, and sampling is usually purposive in which individuals with common experience about the phenomena under investigation, are selected. Time and the place of performing a group discussion must be proportionate to the subject and participants` condition. Tape recording and verbatim transcription along with field notes are usual methods of documenting data in focus groups.

  Conclusion: Focus group is a carefully planned series of discussions, designed to obtain perceptions on a defined area of interest in a permissive, non-threatening environment. A well-organized and guided group discussion results in rich and in-depth information about the phenomena at interest. However, this method has its own strengths and weaknesses which must be considered.


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Type of Study: Research | Subject: nursing
Received: 2011/05/1 | Accepted: 2014/08/25 | Published: 2014/08/25

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