Focus groups in research : information gathering or real in-depth value?
CITATION: Loots, A. 2009. Focus groups in research : information gathering or real in-depth value?. Acta Academica, 41(1):164-182.
The original publication is available at http://journals.ufs.ac.za
This article aims to highlight the value of real in-depth inquiry against the often uninformed use by novice researchers. Focus groups are frequently regarded as a more economical way of gaining the individual opinions of the eight to twelve members of the group. An in-depth focus group clarifies underlying issues in a group or organisation, such as power dynamics, interrelationships, alliances and consensus. The approach to focus groups whereby the researcher can glean deeper information and understanding about the values and power relationships underpinning all inter-group communications, is discussed, emphasising that it is neither "easy" nor "cheap". The skill and knowledge of the facilitator or researcher in this regard is paramount.
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