A paucity of literature exists on how to conduct an online focus group. The purpose of this study is to describe and learn from participants’ experiences in using virtual technology in a focus group conducted to refine a low vision assessment. Ten low vision therapists and five master’s level students participated. Two cycles of data collection and analysis occurred, one for focus group transcripts of therapists and another for student replies to a questionnaire. A case-by-case matrix was created and data sorted into three categories including: (1) benefits to using the technology; (2) challenges to using the technology; and (3) suggestions for future use of the technology. Therapists valued communicating with their peers from settings of their choice and students gained satisfaction in facilitating the communication. Optimal data collection with online focus groups requires that researchers be knowledgeable in all the technology features and carefully plan for common technology issues.


Focus Groups, Video Conferencing, Participants’ Experiences


I wish to thank the following students who participated in the research project of which the focus groups described in this manuscript were part: Laurel Bragg, Marie Chandler, Cory Hill, Jeronimo Jimenez, Jaime McGuire, Jennifer Norris, Megan Setlock, Linsey Shakespeare, Katie Shuler, and Talia Schuss. In addition, I wish to thank two research assistants, Robyn Foley and Carolyn DiMaria for their assistance in editing the manuscript.

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