Doing, Writing and Presenting Research

Whether to Use Focus Groups or Not


Focus Group Methodology and its Usefulness in Early Childhood Research. By Claire McLachlan. Published in NZ Research in ECE Journal, 2005, pp. 113-123.

Abstract

Focus groups are increasingly being used by researchers as a method of qualitative data gathering in educational contexts. The history of the focus group started with the ‘focussed interview’, for identifying a group’s beliefs about a particular issue in a non-directive manner in a non-threatening environment. Focus groups can be a powerful means of obtaining much information from a group in a short period of time, but there are serious issues regarding group dynamics, ethics, structure and management of the focus group. This paper will explore some strategies for successfully using focus group methodology in research in early childhood education services.

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