Researching online populations: The use of online focus groups for social research

Stewart, Kate and Williams, Matthew (2005) Researching online populations: The use of online focus groups for social research. Qualitative Research, 5 (4). pp. 395-416. ISSN 1468-7941

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Abstract

The survivability of ‘traditional’ methods within computer-mediated settings is dependent upon their capacity to be utilized and adapted to the technology that mediates human interaction online. This article addresses the established focus group method and evaluates its success in online applications, using as examples two quite different research projects. The first, drawn from research into the employment experiences of inflammatory bowel disease sufferers exemplifies the use of asynchronous online focus groups, identifying key practical issues such as online moderation and the analysis of digital data. In contrast the second study, into deviance within online communities, provides an example of how synchronous forms of online focus groups, held within 3D graphical environments, create further challenges for the researcher, highlighting unique ethical considerations of conducting fieldwork in cyberspace. The article draws together the authors’ experiences of applying the method to offer insights into the viability and practicability of online focus groups.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2021 00:27
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 11:14
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/81094
DOI: 10.1177/1468794105056916

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