ERIC Number: ED364917
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-May-1
Reference Count: N/A
A Descriptive Analysis of Focus Group Respondents in the 1992 Presidential Debates.
Dudczak, Craig A.; Altenbernd, Lisa M.
A study assessed the selection techniques used to secure focus group respondents at one site as part of a larger study to determine what viewers learned from the 1992 Presidential Debates. A two-stage random sampling technique was developed to select focus group respondents from the 224,041 registered voters in Syracuse, New York. The random selection procedure was used to select 88.8% of the prospective participants. The remaining prospects were selected from a stratified list to compensate for under-represented members drawn from the random sample. A total of 38 respondents (6.3%) agreed to be respondents as a result of telephone calls made to prospective respondents. Last-minute declines by individuals and their replacement by participants who were conveniently available skewed the representativeness of the 29 professionals, students, self-employed people, homemakers, and retirees who actually participated in the focus groups from the demographic characteristics of the community on the variables of gender and party affiliation. When applied to the study of non-homogeneous populations, as voters are, focus group research must approximate the representativeness standards normally associated with survey methodology. While it is premature to comment on the complete content analysis of the presidential debate focus groups, a cautionary note should be sounded to refrain from over-generalizing the results. Focus group methodology, appropriately adapted, can yield both qualitative understanding of political phenomena as well as quantitative generalizability. (Six tables of data and nine footnotes are included. (Contains 12 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Focus Groups Approach; New York (Syracuse)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (New Haven, CT, April 28-May 2, 1993). Document contains light type.