For those of you familiar with conducting focus groups, you’ll know that before, during, and after the actual focus group, they are time- and resource-intensive. As I sought out to conduct focus groups for one of my thesis studies, I knew it would be wise to prepare and learn about the common pitfalls experienced by researchers. Although I found a number of helpful resources (e.g., Barbour, 2008; Krueger & Casey, 2008) that prepared me for common issues such as scheduling, time management, and moderator stance, I still struggled. As I reflected on the five focus groups I moderated, I realized my experience was unique in the sense that the overall purpose was not to study an abstract concept, but rather the aim was to refine a concrete product.
This led my co-authors and I to write a ‘lessons learned’ paper regarding how to refine digital interventions using focus groups, and to my surprise, we were able to discuss seven lessons relevant to this specific inquiry. We submitted this paper to the Journal of Medical Internet Research – Research Protocols, and I am pleased to inform you that it has been accepted for publication! We strongly believe our paper will act as a useful resource for inexperienced qualitative researchers (like myself!) who want to refine digital interventions using focus groups.
Stay tuned for the publication!