Conducting Focus Groups in Terms of an Appreciation of Indigenous Ways of Knowing

  • Norma R. A. RommEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter offers deliberations around the facilitation of focus groups in a manner that takes into account Indigenous ways of knowing. Indigenous knowing (within various Indigenous cultural heritages) can be defined as linked to processes of people collectively constructing their understandings by experiencing their social being in relation to others. This chapter explores how the conduct of focus groups can be geared toward taking into account as well as strengthening knowing as a relational activity defined in this way. I suggest that once facilitators of focus groups appreciate this epistemology, they can set up a climate in which people feel part of a research process of relational discussion around issues raised. This requires an effort on the part of facilitators to make explicit the type of orientation to research that is being encouraged via the focus group session to participants. In this chapter, I offer an illustrative example of an attempt to practice such an approach to facilitation in a rural setting in South Africa.


Indigenous ways of knowing Collective exploration as relational Facilitator orientation Focus group research Participant feedback 



This chapter is based on my article that appeared in January 2015 in Forum: Qualitative Social Research (FQS), 16, 1, Article 2. The article was entitled: Conducting Focus Groups in Terms of an Appreciation of Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Some Examples from South Africa. Permission was granted by Katja Mruck – editor of FQS – on 31 May 2016. She stated (by email) that “all FQS texts are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,” which means that I have the copyright for use of the material.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult Education and Youth DevelopmentUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

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