Benefits of Focus Group Research

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Benefits of Focus Group Research Introduction: Focus group research offers the unique opportunity for researchers to perceive an individual, and their opinions, not only in an exclusive situation, but also as part of a group. Within a group there is a wealth of tacit and experiential knowledge from the outset as in the course of most people's lives they will have interacted with other people in group situations. Bryman (2001) refers to the focused interview as the precept for focus group research, 'The original idea for the focus group- the focused interview- was that people who were known to have a certain experience could be interviewed in a relatively unstructured way about the experience.'(p.336-7) Bryman (2001) notes that the main aims and merits of focus group research include the discovery of how people have constructed their knowledge, why they think what they do; Issues that concern the participants are bought to the fore as the moderator relinquishes power. Throughout the course of the group participants are challenged and may change or revise their views. The researcher may also use the concepts of group dynamics to study the ways in which individuals make sense of a phenomenon. Focus group research differs from a group interview, as the motivation is not to save time on individual interviews, but to study group dynamics and get extra information from this. Arguments and 'sensitive moments' within the group may give rise to the tacit knowledge about why participants hold certain views. My aim is to demonstrate firstly, the different definitions and schools of thought on what actually co... ... middle of paper ... ...(1998), The handbook for Focus Group Research (London, Sage) P. Hellgren (1998), 'Theoretical and Experiential Knowledge in Teacher Education,' European Journal of Teacher Education Vol. 11 No.s 2-3 A. Johnson (1996), 'It's good to talk' The Sociological Review vol.44 R.A. Krueger (1994), Focus Groups 2nd Edition. A Practical Guide for Applied Research (London, Sage) S. Pearce (1995), 'Needs assessment: constructing tacit knowledge from practice,' International Journal of Lifelong Education Vol. 14 no. 5 D. Stewart and P. Shandasani (1990), Focus Groups. Theory and Practice (London, Sage) J. Ursin (2000), 'Group Synamics in the Production of New Knowledge- a Theoretical Framework' from www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001609.htm J.P. Wilson (1999), Human Resource Development (London, Kogan Page)

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