9 February 2024
Applications of Focus Groupsonline course
Improve the quality of your focus group research by achieving an appropriate group composition and gain a clear understanding of how to use focus groups as a qualitative method.
Need to know
Prior training in the foundations and principles of qualitative methods is recommended, but not required.
Focus groups are a popular qualitative research method. They generate different data to other qualitative methods such as interviews. In focus groups we rely on the interactions and communications which occur between the different participants as a means of generating rich and insightful data on an issue or topic.
Therefore, focus groups require considerable questioning and moderating skills. The moderator plays a key role in guiding the discussion.
This interactive course will help to improve the quality of your focus group research by achieving an appropriate group composition and ensuring a lively and participative discussion. It provides you with a clear understanding of how to use focus groups as a qualitative method. It provides first-hand experience of the roles of moderator and focus group participant. It also covers the different challenges posed when designing and moderating focus groups in both face-to-face and online contexts, and strategies for building trust and rapport with participants.
Topics covered include:
• The principles of focus groups;
• The nature of focus group data;
• When we should use focus groups in Qualitative Research;
• Designing focus group discussion guides and exercises;
• Questioning and moderating skills;
• The composition of focus groups;
• Practicalities of facilitating group discussions;
• In-person and online focus groups and their different challenges;
• Ethics and reflexivity in focus groups.
How the course will work online
This consists of a combination of lecture presentations and group practical activities in both sessions.
Karen Lumsden is a sociologist and criminologist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
The course is designed for a demanding audience (researchers, professional analysts, advanced students).
By the end of the course you will:
-be aware of the main principles of focus groups;
-have a clear understanding of when to use focus groups in research;
-be able to independently design and moderate focus group discussions;
-understand the importance of group composition and its impact on group dynamics;
-be aware of the various challenges and strategies involved in running focus groups in-person and online;
-develop strategies for building rapport and trust, involving participants in group discussions, keeping the discussion on track, and ensuring sufficient depth of coverage;
-have practical knowledge of moderating focus groups and participating in them.
You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment.
GBP 492: ECPR member - check if your institution is a member on our website.
GBP 985: ECPR non-member
Funding applications for the 2024 ECPR Methods School Winter instalment are now closed. For more details on funding opportunities for ECPR's other events, please visit our website.