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Focus Groups

  • By: Linda Costigan Lederman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The focus group interview is a qualitative research method used to create thick, rich, descriptive data. It is used to gather data about a phenomenon in and of itself, to generate research questions, or develop hypotheses for further study. The method involves the use of in-depth interviews in which a small group of participants (usually seven to 10 people) are selected to be interviewed together because they are a purposive, although not necessarily representative, sampling of a specific population. Because they are members of that population, and because they are carefully selected by criteria designed to include those with certain characteristics vis-à-vis the topic and to exclude those who do not have these characteristics, focus group participants' thoughts and attitudes can be used to ...

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