© 2017

A New Era in Focus Group Research

Challenges, Innovation and Practice

  • Rosaline S. Barbour
  • David L. Morgan
  • Illuminates the challenges and possibilities involved in designing, carrying out and utilizing focus group research

  • Provides a comprehensive blend of focus group methods, innovations and theories

  • Recognizes the tensions between different research traditions, disciplinary emphases and funding climates


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Using Focus Groups in New Settings

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Laurence Kohn, Wendy Christiaens
      Pages 35-58
    3. Monique M. Hennink
      Pages 59-82
  3. Capitalizing on Focus Groups in Mixed Methods Contexts

  4. Innovations in Focus Group Facilitation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 205-205
    2. Claire Thompson, Daniel J Lewis, Stephanie J C Taylor
      Pages 207-225
    3. Jennifer Wooten
      Pages 251-275
  5. Theoretical Developments

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 301-301
    2. Cassandra Phoenix, Noreen Orr, Meridith Griffin
      Pages 325-342

About this book


This volume provides a critical approach to using focus groups, examining how focus groups have been utilized to research a diverse set of research questions covering a broad spectrum of substantive fields. The collection acknowledges the tensions between different research traditions, disciplinary emphases, funding climates, cultural, political, and ethical contexts, and the ever-changing policy backdrop. Contributors to this book encourage researchers to question and surmount disciplinary and terminological labels and disputes in order to capitalize on the full potential of focus groups, to illuminate the complex collaborative processes involved in forming, debating, contesting, and revising opinions; making decisions; and forging identities. 

The four sections that comprise this collection address, respectively, using focus groups in novel contexts; employing focus groups in mixed methods research designs; innovations in generating focus group data; and new theoretical developments. 

A New Era in Focus Group Research will be of interest to students and scholars across disciplines as well as focus group practitioners outside of academia. 


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Editors and affiliations

  • Rosaline S. Barbour
    • 1
  • David L. Morgan
    • 2
  1. 1.WELSThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA

About the editors

Rosaline S. Barbour is a medical sociologist and is Emerita Professor at the Open University, UK. She runs a company offering bespoke workshops and training sessions on qualitative research methods.

David L. Morgan is Professor of Sociology at Portland State University, USA. He is widely known for his work on focus groups and has worked extensively on mixed methods.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A New Era in Focus Group Research
  • Book Subtitle Challenges, Innovation and Practice
  • Editors Rosaline S. Barbour
    David L. Morgan
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-58613-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-84366-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-58614-8
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 433
  • Number of Illustrations 10 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Research Methodology
    Social Structure, Social Inequality
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book is a cutting-edge contribution that every researcher should have.” (Kathy Charmaz, Sonoma State University, USA)

“This valuable collection of case studies [...] will help readers to identify the opportunities, and the challenges, that focus groups present and to assess when, where and how the method can most productively be used.” (Robert Dingwall, Consulting Sociologist, UK)