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COMM2001 March 17, 2014.docx

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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 2002
Heather Pyman

Interviewing in qualitative research: Focus Groups March-17-14 12:40 PM History •1940's o Robert Merton and Paul Lazersfeid: 1941 o Effects of war time radio programs o Published an article in 1956 called "focus interviewing" > first time we see interviews in a structured kind of way • Showed how to conduct interviews •1950's to 1980's o Quantitative methods dominate o Focus groups primarily market research • 1980's to today o Focus groups move to a stand alone method o Popular with academic research o Internet provides new way of focus groups What is a focus group? •Form of group interview o Usually semi structured •Several participants and a moderator •Individuals in a social context o Emphasis on rhetoric, language, demeanor of participants, facial expressions, emotion presented instead of the words. o How are these responses build upon or contradicted? Or how does the group come to a consensus? How are these opinions expressed? •Discussion of specific issue •Study interaction between group members •How are opinions expressed and modified through group discussions? Uses of focus groups 1. To examine the way people (collectively) construct and organize knowledge 2. To understand why people hold certain views a. Participants probe and challenge each other b. People who have polarized opinions on abortion and capital punishment 1. To elicit a wide range of views on a topic a. If you were Trudeau's comm assistant you develop a slogan that caters towards audience and learn how they react 1. To conduct market research a. Or if you drink coca cola or pepsi, can people tell the difference? Developing communication strategies to address the problem 1. Helpful in media and cultural studies Audience reception/interpretation of texts a. b. Communication scholars interested in how this process working or how individuals in group are interpreting the same text c. At every stage, whoever is creating the text what median are we using to communicate this text . Television spot, radio etc. d. How individuals create meaning from this text Issues in conducting a Focus Group • Number of groups? o 10-15 groups is the norm o Qualitative perspective: continue to organize groups until theoretical saturation where you do not see any new views or how people organize content from the group. o When you're conducting focus group you need funding, have a plan of how much it will cost o What is your research question and what is it related to? Compare and contrast this in society o Looking at people from political parties thinking about capital punishment. Have at least 2 focus groups with one from each political party. Sovereignty is the topic as opposed to what Canadians thi
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