ERIC Number: ED307001
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-May-7
Reference Count: N/A
Focus Group Research: Procedures and Pitfalls.
Cohen, Marlene C.; Engleberg, Isa N.
Focus group research, which involves the exploration of a carefully selected research question by a group of homogeneous subjects, is a qualitative research tool which seems to be a quick and easy means of staying abreast of the educational needs and expectations of community colleges. However, it is difficult to moderate focus groups and interpret their results, and, therefore, focus group research is often misused. To be successful and avoid inherent pitfalls, focus group research should follow three guidelines: (1) collegewide administrative procedures should be established for all focus group research, including provisions for the authorization of focus group research, the selection and training of focus group moderators, the recruitment of focus group subjects, and the appropriate interpretation of focus group results; (2) the focus group moderator should be a professionally trained member of the community college faculty and staff, rather than a marketing consultant from an outside agency who generally lacks understanding of the nature or scope of a community college and, as a result, often misinterprets the group members' answers; and (3) the process of interpreting focus group results must be carefully monitored and regulated, with particular caution taken in drawing conclusions from focus group responses. Maintaining a consistent methodology and deriving results from multiple focus groups of the same population will make focus group research a more valuable and worthwhile endeavor. (ALB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A