Rural Marketing

Topics: Focus group, Qualitative research, Research, Dentistry, Quantitative research, Participant observation / Pages: 18 (4336 words) / Published: Jul 15th, 2013
Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups
P. Gill,1 K. Stewart,2 E. Treasure3 and B. Chadwick4

IN BRIEF

• Interviews and focus groups are the most • • common methods of data collection used in qualitative healthcare research Interviews can be used to explore the views, experiences, beliefs and motivations of individual participants Focus group use group dynamics to generate qualitative data

PRACTICE

This paper explores the most common methods of data collection used in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. The paper examines each method in detail, focusing on how they work in practice, when their use is appropriate and what they can offer dentistry. Examples of empirical studies that have used interviews or focus groups are also provided.

INTRODUCTION

Having explored the nature and pur­ pose of qualitative research in the previ­ ous paper, this paper explores methods of data collection used in qualitative research. There are a variety of methods of data collection in qualitative research, including observations, textual or visual analysis (eg from books or videos) and interviews (individual or group).1 How­ ever, the most common methods used, particularly in healthcare research, are interviews and focus groups.2,3

The purpose of this paper is to explore these two methods in more detail, in particular how they work in practice, the purpose of each, when their use is appropriate and what they can offer dental research.

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH INTERVIEWS
There are three fundamental types of research interviews: structured, semi­ structured and unstructured. Structured interviews are, essentially, verbally administered questionnaires, in which a list of predetermined questions are asked, with little or no variation and with no scope for follow-up questions to responses that warrant further elabora­ tion. Consequently, they are relatively quick and easy to administer and may be of particular use if clarification of

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