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Focus Groups

  • By: Sonia Livingstone & Peter Lunt
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

The focus group, or focused group interview, is a frequently used research method across the social sciences. One of many types of interview, the focus group contrasts with individual or dyadic interviews by involving a small group of interviewees—typically between four and eight people—among whom a focused discussion is generated and led by a trained moderator. Lasting from one to two hours, and often including specific prompts to discussion (objects, images, even group tasks), the purpose is to sustain an interaction among members of the group on the topic in focus, rather than to engage in a dyadic question-and-answer exchange between interviewer and interviewees. The focus group is particularly useful when researchers seek to discover the various ways in which people make sense of ...

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