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

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Willis, KF and Green, J and Daly, J and Williamson, L and Bandyopadhyay, M (2009) 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

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: focus groups • qualitative • evidence
Journal or Publication Title: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Page Range: pp. 131-136
ISSN: 1326-0200
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00358.x
Additional Information: The original publication is available at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2009 02:17
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:00
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/8768
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