Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is a research method in the social sciences, with a particular emphasis and application in the developmental program evaluation sphere (Doody, Slevin, & Taggart, 2013). Thus, they comprise of predetermined semi-structured interviews whereby broad questions are asked on a theme or a topic generating transcripts of discussion and opinions.
Focus group: a qualitative study
Focus group interviews are considered as a qualitative study whereby the perspectives of the respondents are transcribed so that how a group thinks about an issue is assessed (Doody, Slevin, & Taggart, 2013). However, focus groups help to explore interpretations of survey findings on the basis of a range of opinions or views on a topic of interest to collect a wide variety of local terms or texts or keywords. Furthermore, words and texts help to assess the main implications of the discussions and the trend of usage of words.
Focus group: a quantitative study
On the other hand, Rabiee, (2004) and Schmidt, (2015), assessed that text exported from interview transcripts can analyze excerpts from focus group interviews and undergo statistical analyses, basically frequency analyses to estimate the keywords and trend of the discussions. Rabiee, (2004), however presented that there are a number of approaches to the analysis of qualitative data and treat them as quantifiable data. Lastly, focus group can be used in both qualitative and quantitative analyses, whereby the texts and words in the transcripts are statistically analyses for frequency analyses.
Differences between qualitative and quantitative focus group studies
|Qualitative analysis||Quantitative analysis|
|Data collection techniques||Interviews and transcripts||Texts and sentences from transcripts|
|Tools of analyses||N/A|
|Preference||Based on the type of research methodology chosen||Based on the type of research methodology chosen|
Benefits of quantitative analyses
Researchers have a variety of choices in analyzing focus group data and fall into two categories; qualitative or quantitative. However, using the quantitative method the tools can read any text and summarize its main ideas. Furthermore, the tools associated with text based statistical analyses search for text files and words or categories in a given vocabulary list and to count their joint frequencies within any specified context unit, within sentences, or as collocations within a given span of words. The tools help in statistical analyses of word frequencies, joint frequencies and pairs of words; along with researching co-occurrences of words and sentences. Furthermore, tools also help to compare the results of applying multi-dimensional scaling to matrices of joint frequencies of equivalent vocabulary lists derived from a number of texts. Lastly, tools had also been helpful in proximity or probabilistic affinity index analyses.
Focus group statistical analyses processes
The process includes:
- Conduction of focus group, whereby a group of people are first approached for interviews on a particular topic.
- Transcription of opinions and ideologies; will however provide the collection of data in the basis of either audio or videos. After which, transcribed data exported to text forms and sentences
- Conduction of statistical analyses according to requirements
- Lastly, text based frequencies, graphs, and other comparative analyses based on text and words
Focus group represents qualitative analysis methodologies, however, the new researches and availability of tools rose quantitative analyses. Furthermore, tools allow the data collected from transcripts of focus group discussions. Thus, the availability of tools and data sciences have helped in text based statistical analysis of focus group transcripts, thereby providing advancement to social study based researches.
- Doody, O., Slevin, E., & Taggart, L. (2013). Focus group interviews part 3: Analysis. British Journal of Nursing, 22(5), 266–269. http://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2013.22.5.266.
- Rabiee, F. (2004). Focus-group interview and data analysis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 63(04), 655–660. http://doi.org/10.1079/PNS2004399.
- Schmidt, M. (2015). Quantitative Analysis of Focus Group Interviews. In A. Manrai & H. Meadow (Eds.), Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science (Global Per). Springer, Cham. http://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-17356-6_6.