Focus groups are useful tools for examining perceptions, feelings, and suggestions about topics, products, or issues. Typically, focus groups are held in formal facilities with “strangers” or participants who do not know each other. Recent work suggests that “friendship groups” may provide an innovative alternative for collecting group-level qualitative data. This approach involves recruiting a single “source participant” who hosts a group in his/her home and recruits friends possessing the characteristics desired for the study. In order to examine the feasibility of friendship groups as a defensible research methodology, we conducted a series of four friendship groups as a feasibility study. Our analysis examined data from questionnaires about demographics, levels of acquaintanceship, and experience taking part in the group; transcripts; observational data; and the time and costs for recruiting. Using these data, we examined group dynamics, implementation issues, and recruitment time and costs. Based on these analyses, our study determined that friendship groups have the potential to be a viable and cost-effective method of qualitative inquiry.
Focus Groups, Qualitative Research Methodology, Friendship Groups, Recruitment
Special thanks to Dr. Cynthia Robbins, Nataly Johanson, and Betsy Lopez for their assistance with data collection, analysis, and review.
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Recommended APA Citation
Jones, C. D., Newsome, J., Levin, K., Wilmot, A., McNulty, J. A., & Kline, T. (2018). Friends or Strangers? A Feasibility Study of an Innovative Focus Group Methodology. The Qualitative Report, 23(1), 98-112. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.2940