Show Summary Details
Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts (1st edn)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan
Page of

Printed from Oxford Politics Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 07 December 2023

Focus Groups

Trends, Issues, and Debateslocked

Focus Groups

Trends, Issues, and Debateslocked

  • Andrew Parker
  •  and Jonathan Tritter


This chapter looks at focus groups, which grew out of both a therapeutic and marketing tradition and have been utilized by social scientists for many years. Their format constitutes a type of interview technique where six to twelve people are brought together and encouraged to discuss specific topics for 60–90 minutes in order that underlying issues might be explored. Focus groups are often used to investigate areas about which relatively little is known, and they are premised on face-to-face interactions between participants rather than direct responses to questions. More recently they have been adapted to online settings, particularly for hard-to-reach populations. Focus groups are valuable because they capture and harness group interaction to prompt fuller and deeper discussion and the triggering of new ideas. But in order for these dynamics to develop, it is vital that people’s stories are not already well known to each other.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription