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Thinking critically and creatively about focus groups

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Peter Hopkins


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Focus groups are now widely used by human geographers conducting qualitative research, and are clearly recognised as an established research method within the discipline. Despite this, there is a lack of discussion about the various methodological issues involved in using focus groups. This paper aims to open up discussion by suggesting that there is a need to think critically and creatively about using focus groups in human geography. I draw upon my experience of conducting focus groups with young Muslim men in order to suggest some of the ways in which human geographers might think critically about using focus groups. Some of the issues discussed include group size, location, context and timing, sensitivity of topic, the age of research participants and the positionalities of the researcher. © The Author. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2007.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hopkins P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Area

Year: 2007

Volume: 39

Issue: 4

Pages: 528-535

ISSN (print): 0004-0894

ISSN (electronic): 1475-4762


DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2007.00766.x


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