Original Essays: Thesis Focus Group Methodology we …

: The entire online focus group process - from recruitment to data output - can be conducted in a very short period of time. Screening and scheduling via email substantially reduces field time and transcripts and data analysis can be made available much sooner. One online researcher reported "she received 2,700 responses within one day of sending out a so-called screener email to approximately 6,000 users in the company’s database of 500,000 Internet homes" (McDaniel and Gates, 2002). In addition, online focus group participants can communicate in a place and time that is most convenient for them.

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Paper instructions:1. Develop a Focus Group Discussion Guide to conduct the focus groups.

Develop a Focus Group Discussion Guide to conduct the focus groups

Focus groups can be used at the preliminary or exploratory stages of a study (Kreuger 1988); during a study, perhaps to evaluate or develop a particular programme of activities (Race et al 1994); or after a programme has been completed, to assess its impact or to generate further avenues of research. They can be used either as a method in their own right or as a complement to other methods, especially for triangulation (Morgan 1988) and validity checking.

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The goal of focus group research is to learn and understand what people have to say and why. The emphasis is on getting people to talk at length and in detail about the subject at hand. The intent is to find out how they feel about a product, concept, idea, or organization; how it fits in their lives; and their emotional involvement with it. (McDaniel and Gates, 2002)

Other arguments for the practicality and pay-offs of using online focus groups include:

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NFO WORLDGROUP is a leading provider of research-based marketing information and counsel. is the online equivalent to the conventional focus group: can incorporate 2-D, 3-D and soon, live motion video for concept testing, package testing, product development - images can even be altered in real time.

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is anInternet based market research organisation that offers online focus groups as part of its overall research approach. They use experienced moderators and during a focus group discussion, are able to introduce text, graphics, sounds/jingles, video or multimedia for evaluation and testing. The company also uses "pop-up" survey software to collect data on the web. This technique randomly selects web site visitors and pops up a small window asking them if they want to take part in a brief online survey. claims that this gives a true random sample of web site visitors.

Analyze the case study School Shootings and Focus Group Research: Narrative Analysis and Problem

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Merton and Kendall’s (1946) influential article on the focused interview set the parameters for focus group development. This was in terms of ensuring that participants have a specific experience of or opinion about the topic under investigation; that an explicit interview guide is used; and that the subjective experiences of participants are explored in relation to predetermined research questions.

2. Write the Instructions on how to conduct the focus groups that will go out to the campuses (13 of them) to accompany the Discussion Guide.

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Although focus group research has many advantages, as with all research methods there are limitations. Some can be overcome by careful planning and moderating, but others are unavoidable and peculiar to this approach. The researcher, or moderator, for example, has less control over the data produced (Morgan 1988) than in either quantitative studies or one-to-one interviewing. The moderator has to allow participants to talk to each other, ask questions and express doubts and opinions, while having very little control over the interaction other than generally keeping participants focused on the topic. By its nature focus group research is open ended and cannot be entirely predetermined.

Kitzinger J. (1994) ‘The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interaction between research participants’,  16 (1): 103-21.

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NFO WORLDGROUP is a leading provider of research-based marketing information and counsel. is the online equivalent to the conventional focus group: