Focus groups are a commonly used methodology to explore ideas in a group setting with a researcher acting as moderator. However, in some contexts the presence of a moderator may unduly influence the responses of focus group participants. I report on the use of unmoderated focus groups, a modification of the traditional focus group methodology. Unmoderated focus groups are made up solely of participants in the research study and as such remove the direct influence of the researcher. I found that this methodology uncovered richer identity stories than interviews did alone. In this article, I present the methodology as well as potential constraints for its use in qualitative research.


Qualitative Research Methods, Focus Group, Unmoderated Focus Group, Interview, Group Interview, Narrative Research, Identity

Author Bio(s)

Martha (Marti) Canipe is an assistant professor of elementary science education at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests center on elementary science teacher preparation and identity development. Please direct correspondence to marti.canipe@nau.edu.

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