Interviews/Focus Groups


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Interviews and focus groups are two of the more common ways of conducting qualitative research. Interviews and focus groups have some strong similarities and some big differences. Both might be semi-structured, structured or unstructured. Meaning the interviewer has either planned an exact interview schedule with direct questions, developed a semi-structured one with prompts to allow the participants to discuss their experience with more freedom, or the process is rather unstructured and wholly led by the participants.
Interviews are usually one-on-one but can involve more than one participant at a time. In contrast, focus groups are the interview of a small group of individuals with similar experiences or a shared belief or common interest.
Both types of method has their advantages and disadvantages, however what method is adopted largely relies on the type of research question being answered.
There are also different kinds of interviews, for example, if from a historical perspective researchers may adopt oral history as a method.
Having conducted an interview or focus group the type of analysis conducted on the data may vary and could include one of a range of methods such as: conversation analysis, discourse analysis, thematic analysis, interpretative phrenomenological analysis (IPA) and many more.