The indirect approach of semi‐focused groups

Frederic Bill (Växjö University, Växjö, Sweden)
Lena Olaison (Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to present an alternative way of using focus groups in research – a role‐play‐enhanced focus group method – in which participants are presented with the challenge of dealing with a specific task while playing a familiar but nevertheless fictive role.


The research is performed through an experimental approach in which a focus group of small business owner‐managers are assembled and presented with a prepared case exercise. The design is a role‐play‐like setting in which the participants are to act as the board of a company.


Carefully designed, well‐prepared role‐play‐like activities can add substantially to focus‐groups.


Adding an experimental dimension to focus groups offers the possibility of addressing topics indirectly and thus increases their usefulness.



Bill, F. and Olaison, L. (2009), "The indirect approach of semi‐focused groups", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 7-26.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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