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Focus group interaction in evaluation research

Focus group interaction in evaluation research AbstractAs multiparty activities focus groups afford participants opportunities to interact with each other rather than only with the moderator. The methodological literature recommends focus groups for data generation precisely for these structural affordances, but few studies examine how the interaction in ongoing focus groups evolves. Consequently it remains largely obscure how focus groups produce disciplinary knowledge. Addressing this gap from the perspective of conversation analysis, the study examines focus group interaction as the participants’ joint accomplishment, with particular attention to the interactional practices that exhibit the participants’ orientation to the institutional activity and its agenda. The focus groups were conducted as part of a program evaluation study with Korean teachers of English who participated in a study-abroad teacher development program in the U.S. The analysis reveals how the participants contingently initiate activity and topic shifts in keeping with the institutional purpose and invoke their collective identity as an epistemic community as they jointly construct responses to the moderator’s questions. The conversation-analytic lens reveals how the focus groups generate profound, nuanced, and grounded knowledge about the program under evaluation from the perspective of the key stakeholders and by implication about the topical concerns for which the focus groups were conducted in the first place. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

Focus group interaction in evaluation research

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 9 (4): 25 – Oct 25, 2018

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1868-6311
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2017-0023
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractAs multiparty activities focus groups afford participants opportunities to interact with each other rather than only with the moderator. The methodological literature recommends focus groups for data generation precisely for these structural affordances, but few studies examine how the interaction in ongoing focus groups evolves. Consequently it remains largely obscure how focus groups produce disciplinary knowledge. Addressing this gap from the perspective of conversation analysis, the study examines focus group interaction as the participants’ joint accomplishment, with particular attention to the interactional practices that exhibit the participants’ orientation to the institutional activity and its agenda. The focus groups were conducted as part of a program evaluation study with Korean teachers of English who participated in a study-abroad teacher development program in the U.S. The analysis reveals how the participants contingently initiate activity and topic shifts in keeping with the institutional purpose and invoke their collective identity as an epistemic community as they jointly construct responses to the moderator’s questions. The conversation-analytic lens reveals how the focus groups generate profound, nuanced, and grounded knowledge about the program under evaluation from the perspective of the key stakeholders and by implication about the topical concerns for which the focus groups were conducted in the first place.

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Oct 25, 2018

References