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Understanding and Using Health ExperiencesImproving patient care$
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Sue Ziebland, Angela Coulter, Joseph D. Calabrese, and Louise Locock

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199665372

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665372.001.0001

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Using focus groups to understand experiences of health and illness

Using focus groups to understand experiences of health and illness

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter 6 Using focus groups to understand experiences of health and illness
Source:
Understanding and Using Health Experiences
Author(s):

Jenny Kitzinger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665372.003.0006

Focus groups are a qualitative method of data collection involving group discussion around a specific experience or issue. This approach can be particularly useful when researchers wish to encourage participants to explore issues of importance to them, in their own vocabulary, generating their own questions and pursuing their own priorities. When group dynamics work well participants act as co-researchers, taking the research in new and perhaps unexpected directions. This chapter introduces readers to the principles and practicalities of focus group research. Particular attention is paid to how interaction can help to elicit and frame the data, and how attention to interaction within the group can be used in analysis. The chapter is illustrated with examples from a wide range of health-related studies and also draws on the author’s previous research on residential care for the elderly and more recent research on residents’ and relatives’ views on long-term residential care for people with neurological illnesses and brain injuries.

Keywords:   qualitative methods, data collection, focus groups, patient experience, residential care

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