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Perils and possibilities: achieving best evidence from focus groups in public health research


Willis, KF and Green, J and Daly, J and Williamson, L and Bandyopadhyay, M, Perils and possibilities: achieving best evidence from focus groups in public health research, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 33, (2) pp. 131-136. ISSN 1326-0200 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00358.x


Objective: Focus group research is often seen as a cost-effective way of gathering evidence from multiple research participants about the diversity of their views, experiences or beliefs. Our objective is to argue that focus group research only fulfils its potential if analysis of individual views is extended to include analysis of interaction between participants, so that we learn more why people hold these views. Approach: We outline the literature on focus group research, contrasting the 'quick-and-easy' approach with the demands of studies that are designed, conducted and analysed in a methodologically rigorous way to yield high quality public health evidence. Conclusion: Well-conducted focus groups contribute good evidence for public health decision making. The challenges of conducting high-quality studies should not be underestimated, and must involve rigorous analysis of both interaction and content. Journal Compilation © 2009 Public Health Association of Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:focus groups, qualitative, evidence
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Willis, KF (Dr Karen Willis)
ID Code:58764
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:61
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2009-10-26
Last Modified:2009-11-25

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