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Talking to People IV: Focus Groups

  • Peter Lunt
Chapter

Abstract

Focus groups are used for a wide variety of purposes in academic research, marketing, political campaigning, public deliberation, and policy research. A flexible method, focus groups can be understood as an extension of qualitative interviews in group contexts or as simulations of public discussion and debate. They are powerful tools that tap into processes of public discourse and therefore equally valuable to research and constitute important elements of public consultation and deliberation. The paper discusses the methodological and procedural decisions that face the researcher using focus groups and the skills required of the moderator. The paper also considers whether focus groups conducted in commercial, governmental and policy contexts enable public voices to be heard or constitute a managed show of engagement that enrolls participants in governance.

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Further Reading

  1. For an introduction of the focus group method see Bryman (2004), Chapter 16.Google Scholar
  2. A paper that outlines methods and issues in focus group research see Lunt and Livingstone (1993).Google Scholar
  3. For an in-depth analysis of the history of focus group research across the boundary of academic and policy research see Morrison (1998).Google Scholar
  4. For an application of the focus group method in policy research see Ofcom (2016).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Lunt
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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