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COMM2001 March 24, 2014.docx

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Carleton University
Communication Studies
COMM 2002
Heather Pyman

Contemporary Focus Groups View Focus groups as a simulation of everyday discussion, conversation, gossip, not an aggregate of individual opinion •Critical of positivist research o Role of the researcher questioned o Selection of interviewees o Interviewee's motivations questioned •Uses o Return to notion of opinion formation not media effects Idea of getting towards specific topics •Interested in specific use of focus groups , ideas, opinions, beliefs o Contemporary is critical of the entire structure •There is a positivist kind of idea Contemporary Approach •Goal is to reveal meaning and how individuals negotiate these meanings •Moderator o Less controlling, allows domination and tension/argument (natural) • Groups o Interviewees know each other o Groups meet more often o Natural settings (ie. Home) Criticisms •Focus group results not reliable or valid o People will say anything • More creative opinions/responses. Other respondents will question •Different groups will produce different responses o Variation not an error. Keep repeating groups till all new opinions are covered (theoretical saturation) •People will argue positions they don't actually have, therefore they are not reliable o Some issues are not as significant as others o Not intended to be a measure of public opinion Interpreting Focus Group Findings •Little is written •Interpretive Sensitivity - highly subjective •Systematic coding - rigid •Hybrid of the two o Inserts a reliability check o Avoids unwanted generalizations and representations •Analyse content •Analyse how meaning is constructed Conclusion •Focus groups generate discussion and reveal meanings and how these meanings are negotiated •Focus groups generate diversity and difference within and between groups •Focus groups have moved beyond the Merton limitations •Now a method used by different theoretical assumptions Coding Interview Content •Pattern construction •Category construction •Interaction, interplay interrelationship Reasoning: to come to patterns and categories: •Deductive • Inductive •Abductive Open Coding and categorizing •Process codi
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