Focus groups are an increasingly popular qualitative research method but it is vital to understand the kind of data they generate so that they are chosen wisely. As a method they require considerable questioning and facilitation skills. This one-day highly interactive course shows you how to improve the quality of focus group research by achieving optimum group composition, and ensuring a lively and fully participative discussion.
This course is tailored for researchers new to using focus groups but requires some prior understanding of the logic of social research.
- the nature of focus groups and focus group data
- using focus groups appropriately
- discussion guides and focusing exercises
- questioning and moderating skills
- the composition of focus groups
- practicalities of recruiting and running groups
- to give participants a clear understanding of when to use focus groups as a qualitative method
- to illustrate the importance of group composition and its impact on group dynamics
- to describe techniques for involving participants, keeping the discussion on track and ensuring sufficient depth of coverage to provide first-hand experience of one of three key roles: facilitator, group member, observer
Subdomains B3, D2
Karen O'Reilly is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University, and an affiliate of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford. She has taught ethnographic and qualitative methods for over 20 years, including the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Collection and Analysis, the Swiss Summer School in Social Science Methods, in Lugano; at the Universities of Aberdeen, Essex, Loughborough and Oxford; and at universities in Germany, Norway and Hong Kong. Her experience also includes being a Member of the Advisory Board of the NCRM biannual Research Methods Festival 2011-2012; and a member of the ESRC Peer Review College 2012 – 2016. Karen is a highly experienced ethnographer and qualitative researcher whose many publications include two widely cited books on ethnography: Ethnographic Methods (Routledge, 2nd ed. 2012) and Key Concepts in Ethnography (Sage, 2009). She has also been instrumental in the design and evaluation of Masters level Research Methods courses and programmes in a number of universities. Karen provides short courses for the SRA on a regular basis, as well as bespoke training in qualitative research methods.