Perils and possibilities: achieving best evidence from focus groups in public health research
Article first published online: 7 APR 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2009 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 33, Issue 2, pages 131–136, April 2009
How to Cite
Willis, K., Green, J., Daly, J., Williamson, L. and Bandyopadhyay, M. (2009), Perils and possibilities: achieving best evidence from focus groups in public health research. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 33: 131–136. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00358.x
- Issue published online: 7 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 7 APR 2009
- Submitted: August 2008 Revision requested: November 2008 Accepted: December 2008
- focus groups;
Objective: Focus group research is often seen as a cost-effective way of gathering evidence from multiple research participants about the diversity of their views, experiences or beliefs. Our objective is to argue that focus group research only fulfils its potential if analysis of individual views is extended to include analysis of interaction between participants, so that we learn more why people hold these views.
Approach: We outline the literature on focus group research, contrasting the ‘quick-and-easy’ approach with the demands of studies that are designed, conducted and analysed in a methodologically rigorous way to yield high quality public health evidence.
Conclusion: Well-conducted focus groups contribute good evidence for public health decision making. The challenges of conducting high-quality studies should not be underestimated, and must involve rigorous analysis of both interaction and content.