The relative strengths of focus groups and individualinterviews have been more the subject of speculationthan systematic research. This study statisticallytests the notion that participants in focus groups andindividual interviews equally raise sensitive topicsfor discussion. Ninety-seven year-round residents fromthe Chelém Lagoon region in Yucatán, Mexicoparticipated in 1 of 12 focus groups or 19 individualin-depth interviews. A professional moderator usingthe same discussion guide concerning the sharedmangrove ecosystem conducted the sessions. The 31sessions resulted in more than 500 pages oftranscripts which were systematically and iterativelycoded using a grounded theory approach. The codedqualitative data were transformed into summaryvariables that allowed for statistical analysis andtesting of the research hypothesis. The studyillustrates that the individual interviews were 18times more likely to raise socially sensitivediscussion topics than the focus groups. Additionally,the study found the two qualitative methods to revealcomplementary, not substitute, sets of information.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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