Reconsidering the role of interaction in analyzing and reporting focus groups.
In the two sections of this article, I examine aspects of the analysis and reporting of interaction in focus groups. In both sections, I argue that the essential importance of interaction for producing the data in focus groups does not correspond to any requirement that the analysis or the reporting of that data should emphasize interaction. With regard to analyzing interaction, the goals of the research should guide the analysis of the data, and those goals might or might not emphasize interaction. In particular, a great deal of focus group research is conducted for substantive and practical purposes, where the analysis typically requires little attention to the dynamics of interaction in those groups. With regard to reporting interaction, quotations from single individuals can often be the most efficient and effectives ways to accomplish an article's goals; however, I also discuss the kinds of situations where there are good reasons to report interaction among the participants. I conclude by briefly describing a different agenda for examining the importance of interaction in focus groups.
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