The methodology of Focus Groups: the importance of interaction between research participants


Address for correspondence: Jenny Kitzinger, Glasgow University Medic Group, 61 Southpark Ave., Glasgow G12 8LF


What are focus groups? How are they distinct from ordinary group discussions and what use are they anyway? This article introduces focus group methodology, explores ways of conducting such groups and examines what this technique of data collection can offer researchers in general and medical sociologists in particular. It concentrates on the one feature which inevitably distinguishes focus groups from one-to-one interviews or questionnaires – namely the interaction between research participants - and argues for the overt exploration and exploitation of such interaction in the research process.