Introduction to Focus Group Interviewing Research Methods

This course will be offered online in 2020. Class instruction will consist of:

  • One-hour group Zoom meetings on June 15 and 16
  • Question & Answer Bulletin Board
  • 20 short video segments on the basics of focus group interviewing
  • 2 video demonstrations of a focus group interview
  • 4 video lectures by Dr. Krueger and Dr. Casey
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Student notes
  • Textbook

Students will be asked to submit three assignments: (1) a plan for a focus group study, (2) questions for a focus group study, and (3) an introduction to a focus group interview. The instructors will review and critique these assignments.

This course introduces the skills needed to conduct focus group interviews. Students will learn about the critical components of successful focus group research. The course will cover these skills:

  • Planning—When to use focus groups and designing a study
  • Recruiting—Identifying information-rich participants and getting them to show up
  • Hosting—Creating a permissive and nonthreatening environment
  • Moderating—The crucial first few minutes and moderating techniques
  • Developing questions—Characteristics of good focus group questions
  • Analyzing—Options for analysis
  • Reporting—Options for sharing what was learned

Why Take This Course? Focus groups are used to understand issues, pilot test ideas, and evaluate programs. They also provide great insight when used in combination with surveys. Focus groups have been used to help design surveys, to pilot test surveys, and to understand survey findings. Take this course if you want to learn more about how focus groups might add to your research toolbox. Prerequisite: An introductory course in research methods or equivalent experience.

Survmeth 652 (1 credit hour)
Textbook Information: Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research-ISBN 9781483365244