Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



focus group

  A qualitative method involving a group discussion, usually with six to twelve participants, focused around questions raised by a moderator. The methodology has roots in market research but is now used regularly by human geographers (Goss, 1996). Focus groups typically supplement other methodologies. They can be used at the beginning of a research process: to orient a researcher to a new field; to generate hypotheses that can be tested more systematically; or to identify concepts or themes to be pursued in interviews or questionnaire surveys. Alternatively, focus groups can follow a questionnaire survey, to verify the researcher\'s interpretation.

The advantages of focus groups over interviews are that they allow meanings to emerge in a less directed way, and they are creative encounters, in which participants share and test their ideas within the group. A researcher doing participatory action research may value the opportunity that focus groups provide for participants to learn from and be supported by each other. Concerns about focus groups rest on the representative nature of the sample and the fact that they are public performances that are both enabled and constrained by social conventions. The former concern confuses the intent of a case study (further, there is no logical reason why focus groups could not be carried out with representative sub-samples). The latter concern generates discussion about whether social differences can be effectively managed within focus groups, whether, for example, men will dominate women, elites will silence non-elites, etc. In Goss\'s (1996) opinion, an effective moderator can manage these differences and diverse groups and thereby not only elicit a greater variety of perspectives but also offer more potential for members to learn from each other. Nevertheless, variability within each focus group remains a key methodological decision, as is the decision as to how structured the focus group will be. Focus groups can be very structured situations, in which the researcher moves the group through a structured set of questions, or very loosely structured occasions in which the group develops a dynamic of its own and begins to set its own agenda. (GP)

Reference Goss, J. 1996: Introduction to focus groups. Area 28: 113-14.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
flexible accumulation
food, geography of


Other Terms : Identity | surveying | nation-state
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us