Focus group interviews as a data collecting strategy
Article first published online: 15 SEP 2004
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 48, Issue 2, pages 187–194, October 2004
How to Cite
McLafferty, I. (2004), Focus group interviews as a data collecting strategy. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 48: 187–194. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2004.03186.x
- Issue published online: 15 SEP 2004
- Article first published online: 15 SEP 2004
- Submitted for publication 27 November 2003 Accepted for publication 26 February 2004
- focus groups;
- qualitative research;
- data collection;
Background. Focus group interviews are a method for collecting qualitative data and have enjoyed a surge in popularity in health care research over the last 20 years. However, the literature on this method is ambiguous in relation to the size, constitution, purpose and execution of focus groups.
Aim. The aim of this article is to explore some of the methodological issues arising from using focus group interviews in order to stimulate debate about their efficacy.
Discussion. Methodological issues are discussed in the context of a study examining attitudes towards and beliefs about older adults in hospital settings among first-level registered nurses, nursing lecturers and student nurses. Focus group interviews were used to identify everyday language and constructs used by nurses, with the intention of incorporating the findings into an instrument to measure attitudes and beliefs quantitatively.
Conclusions. Experiences of conducting focus group interviews demonstrated that smaller groups were more manageable and that groups made up of strangers required more moderator intervention. However, as a data collecting strategy they are a rich source of information.