ERIC Number: ED448167
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Focusing on Focus Group Use in Educational Research.
Jarrell, Michele G.
This paper gives a brief overview of the focus group method, its history, and usefulness for educational researchers and outlines the essential steps to a successful focus group. An example of the use of focus groups is given. The focus group originated in the 1920s in the social sciences, developed further in market research, and is undergoing a resurgence in the social sciences. The approach has evolved to become useful in educational research. In setting up focus groups, these issues are important: (1) purpose; (2) number of groups; (3) length of group; (4) moderator's guide; (5) moderator; (6) location and setup; (7) participants; (8) number of participants; (9) conducting the group; and (10) analyzing the data. Among the advantages to focus groups is the promotion of interactive discussion among stakeholders. A major disadvantage is data analysis, which can be tedious and difficult. A study of the instructional validity of a state's graduation examination illustrates the use of teacher and student focus groups. When evaluating programs, educational researchers should consider the use of focus groups during and after the implementation of the program as an excellent way to ascertain participants' attitudes. Two appendixes contain sample teachers' and students' group moderator guides. (Contains 34 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association (28th, Bowling Green, KY, November 15-17, 2000).