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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2007

Don MacMillan, Susan McKee and Shawna Sadler

Using staff focus groups in the redevelopment of a library web site deploys their knowledge of user navigation issues and search strategies and addresses the unique needs…

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1870

Abstract

Purpose

Using staff focus groups in the redevelopment of a library web site deploys their knowledge of user navigation issues and search strategies and addresses the unique needs of library staff. This paper seeks to describe the process of planning, recruiting, and conducting staff focus groups and provide a discussion of lessons learned.

Design/methodology/approach

A committee of professionals and non‐professionals from the University of Calgary Library conducted a series of five focus groups with library staff. The goals were to determine their content and service priorities for the redesigned library web site, and also to ensure that staff was included in the redesign process.

Findings

This paper makes recommendations for library staff focus group interviewing, including planning, formulating questions, recruitment, conducting sessions, and analysis and reporting.

Practical implications

Focus group interviews can be effectively conducted in‐house, with careful planning and adherence to established guidelines. Focus groups are a very useful method for gathering staff input for web site redesign or any other library‐planning project.

Originality/value

This paper will be useful to librarians interested in assessing staff needs and priorities through focus group interviews. The paper fills a void in the library literature regarding the use of library staff as both focus group leaders and participants.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2005

Clive Boddy

This paper seeks to highlight the current confusion in the terminology for group research, identify the geographic, historical and scientific sources of this confusion and…

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4458

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to highlight the current confusion in the terminology for group research, identify the geographic, historical and scientific sources of this confusion and suggest a reduction in the number of terms used to two, thereby offering a definition on which researchers from different cultural backgrounds and scientific traditions may be able to agree.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the academic and practitioner literature on qualitative group research in academic, social and market research indicates that various terms for groups are used interchangeably and are often assumed to have the same meaning. These terms include; Focus Group, Group Discussion, Group Interview, Group, Focus Group Interview, Focus Group Discussion, Qualitative Group Discussion and Nominal Group Interview.

Practical implications

The contribution of this paper is that it offers a resolution of this issue and so allows researchers from across geographic borders, different scientific traditions and from both academic and practitioner backgrounds to talk to one another in a common language.

Originality/value

This issue of differences in terminology for groups has largely been ignored by researchers and this paper hopes to bring some clarity and understanding of the key differences between focus group interviews and focus group discussions.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1990

Mark Jenkins and K. Sara Harrison

Considers the focus group as an alternative to the traditionalstructured questionnaire. Their appeal, what they can and cannotachieve, and four key questions related to…

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2373

Abstract

Considers the focus group as an alternative to the traditional structured questionnaire. Their appeal, what they can and cannot achieve, and four key questions related to conducting focus groups are discussed. Focus groups are relevant to a broad spectrum of marketing issues related to the food industry, and it is concluded that their role will continue to dominate qualitative market research. Increasingly high standards will be demanded of moderators, perhaps leading to recognised qualifications for the holding of focus groups.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 92 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 22 August 2008

Martin P. Courtois and Elizabeth C. Turtle

This paper aims to explore the benefits of using faculty focus groups as an early component of a scholarly communications program with suggestions for planning and…

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921

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the benefits of using faculty focus groups as an early component of a scholarly communications program with suggestions for planning and conducting sessions, recruiting participants and analyzing outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on the authors' use of focus groups in the initial stages of organizing a scholarly communications program at Kansas State University.

Findings

The paper finds that focus groups are an effective method to begin identifying scholarly communication issues that resonate with faculty on a particular campus. Focus groups can be helpful in targeting efforts to begin a scholarly communications program.

Practical implications

Focus groups are effective in generating insights, opinions and attitudes and are low cost in terms of time and resource commitments.

Originality/value

There is very little in the literature about using faculty focus groups to start a campus scholarly communication program. This paper provides practical and useful information that other libraries can use to incorporate this method into their planning.

Details

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1065-075X

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1999

K. Denise Threlfall

Focus groups are an effective strategy in consumer research if conducted properly. Too often the meaning and origin of focus groups have been distorted by marketing and…

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11318

Abstract

Focus groups are an effective strategy in consumer research if conducted properly. Too often the meaning and origin of focus groups have been distorted by marketing and consumer researchers and the validity of retrieved data is questioned. By looking at the definition and evolution of focus groups, definitive advantages and disadvantages of the method emerge. Focus groups provide the collective insight of group dynamics while preserving individual preferences. If focus groups are contrived using true qualitative characteristics, this method may yield the strongest data for use by consumer and marketing researchers in truly identifying with customers today.

Details

Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2538

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Book part
Publication date: 5 December 2007

Christian M. Simon and Maghboeba Mosavel

Focus groups can provide a rich and meaningful context in which to explore diverse bioethics topics. They are particularly useful for describing people's experiences of…

Abstract

Focus groups can provide a rich and meaningful context in which to explore diverse bioethics topics. They are particularly useful for describing people's experiences of and/or attitudes toward specific ethical conundrums, but can also be used to identify ethics training needs among medical professionals, evaluate ethics programs and consent processes, and stimulate patient advocacy. This chapter discusses these and other applications of focus group methodology. It examines how to ethically and practically plan and recruit for, conduct, and analyze the results of focus groups. The place of focus groups among other qualitative research methods is also discussed.

Details

Empirical Methods for Bioethics: A Primer
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1266-5

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2018

Brendan Richard, Stephen Sivo, Marissa Orlowski, Robert Ford, Jamie Murphy, David Boote and Eleanor Witta

This paper aims to test the idea generation capabilities of online text-based focus groups as compared to the traditional in-person focus groups using sustainability in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to test the idea generation capabilities of online text-based focus groups as compared to the traditional in-person focus groups using sustainability in the hospitality industry as the idea generation topic. Idea generation quantity and quality are analyzed and the theoretical and practical implications for the hospitality industry are discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental study tested the quality of ideas generated by online versus in-person focus groups. Participants were purposively sampled from the hospitality program at a large southeastern United States university and randomly assigned into one of two treatment groups: online text-based or traditional in-person focus groups. During both treatment groups participants generated ideas focused on sustainability in the hospitality industry.

Findings

The online focus group generated a comparable quantity of ideas, in addition to a similar average quality of ideas and number of good ideas.

Practical implications

The generation of ideas and the selection of opportunities drive the innovation process through which firms can strengthen their competitive advantage and maintain and grow market share and profitability. The results of this study may assist hospitality firms in determining which form of qualitative research delivers the highest return on investment by generating the best ideas at the lowest cost.

Originality/value

This paper breaks new ground by assessing the effectiveness of idea generation in online versus traditional focus groups, comparing both the quantity and quality of ideas generated from an experimental study that uses random assignment.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 30 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Graham R. Walden

Focus group interviewing, an important social science research methodology dating to the 1920s, is currently experiencing renewed popularity worldwide. This paper aims to…

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2361

Abstract

Purpose

Focus group interviewing, an important social science research methodology dating to the 1920s, is currently experiencing renewed popularity worldwide. This paper aims to review the implementation of this qualitative assessment tool as it relates to the library environment. The article is designed to stimulate the use of focus groups in librarianship and to demonstrate the range of positive applications across various activities within this field, such as administration, cataloging, reference, internet, and other areas. The goal is to bolster recognition that this data‐gathering technique can be utilized to achieve a variety of goals.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive search of online databases was conducted in library science and in numerous other social sciences, given the interdisciplinary nature of the topic. The salient monographic and journal literature was selected and annotated. A number of standard handbooks, textbooks, references sources, and scholarly articles were consulted to provide the background information found in the introductory essay.

Findings

The paper finds focus group interviewing can be successfully employed in a wide range of endeavors within librarianship. Relative to the other social sciences, to date libraries have underutilized the approach.

Originality/value

This research may be useful for librarians, library administrators, and others who are involved in planning and conducting a focus group project in order to appraise the quality of library programs, services, and policies. No other article provides this level of in‐depth review and evaluation through copiously annotated entries covering the spectrum of use throughout the library literature.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Roderick A.W. Rhodes and Anne Tiernan

The purpose of this paper is to outline the current state of political and administrative ethnography in political science and public administration before suggesting that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the current state of political and administrative ethnography in political science and public administration before suggesting that focus groups are a useful tool in the study of governing elites. They provide an alternative way of “being there” when the rules about secrecy and access prevent participant observation. Briefly, it describes the job of Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff before explaining the research design, the preparations for the focus group sessions, and the strategies used to manage the dynamics of a diverse group that included former political enemies and factional rivals.

Design/methodology/approach

It outlines the approach to analysis and interpretation before reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of focus groups for research into political and administrative elites.

Findings

It concludes that focus groups are a valuable tool for making tacit knowledge explicit, especially when all participants work in a shared governmental tradition.

Originality/value

It is the first project to use focus groups to study the political elites of Westminster systems, let alone Australian government.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2012

John W. O'Neill

This paper seeks to describe how the results of the qualitative research method of focus groups may be used as conceptual data at the onset of a research study to inform…

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3559

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to describe how the results of the qualitative research method of focus groups may be used as conceptual data at the onset of a research study to inform researchers regarding relevant issues for future more in‐depth quantitative study.

Design/methodology/approach

Seven focus group sessions with a total of 50 participants were conducted, each focus group with six to eight participants. All focus groups included the homogeneous participants of new entrants to the hospitality industry. Focus group questions were inductive and naturalistic and centered on career expectations and work‐life issues. Sessions averaged 1 hour and 15 minutes and were conducted by trained graduate students.

Findings

The paper suggests that long, unpredictable hours create both work‐related and non‐work stress. Further, there is general agreement regarding the stressors and benefits associated with working in the hospitality industry.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include the use of senior, hospitality management majors, all of whom had hospitality industry employment experience, but some of whom had fewer than 1,000 hours of such experience.

Originality/value

This work illustrates how focus groups may fit into a larger research study involving the hospitality industry. This work also explores the common issue, but understudied topic of work‐life balance in the hotel industry. In so doing, it provides greater understanding of the issue to researchers.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

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