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Methodological issues in focus group research: The example of investigating counsellors’ experiences of working with same-sex couples

Pearson, Danielle and Vossler, Andreas (2016). Methodological issues in focus group research: The example of investigating counsellors’ experiences of working with same-sex couples. Counselling Psychology Review, 31(1)

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Abstract

Background: Focus groups are a widely utilised research method in an array of disciplines including the social sciences and, more specifically, in counselling and psychotherapy. They can be effective in assessing attitudes, opinions and experiences relative to a specific context and are relatively time and cost efficient. However, there are also potential limitations with this method, such as a reduced opportunity to participate for individuals and an increased likelihood of conformity in the group setting.

Aims: This paper explores methodological issues in conducting and interpreting focus groups, illustrated with data from our own study on couple counsellors’ experiences of working with same-sex couples.

Method: Data was collected via three focus groups with 11 Relate counsellors and analysed using thematic analysis. The research process was used to reflect upon the experience of conducting and interpreting focus group data.

Results/Discussion: The advantages and disadvantages of using focus groups are exemplified in various ways, including evaluating benefits and shortcomings in a different light by considering them as situation specific methodological issues of group interaction and group dynamics. Issues in data analysis are demonstrated by stressing the importance of appraising the content, interaction, and the socio-cultural and biographical contexts of the focus group, participants, and the moderator.

Implications: The paper concludes with implications for future research employing focus group methodology.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 Unknown
ISSN: 0269-6975
Keywords: focus groups; methodological issues; same-sex couples; couple counselling
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 45615
Depositing User: Andreas Vossler
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2016 10:04
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 11:30
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/45615
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