A focus group is defined as a small demographical diverse group of individuals whose opinion are collected an evaluated with the core aim of determining the significance or the weakness of particular thing of the research topic. Individual interviews are the method of collecting data through engaging in intensive interviews with a small number of respondents with the primary aim of exploring their opinions regarding a particular situation or idea, or a project (Rothwell, Anderson, & Botkin, 2016). However, in assessing both focus group and individuals as methods of collecting data, it is quite apparent that the two have some differences while applied in collecting data by multiple researchers.
One of the significant differences underlining the two techniques is that focus groups usually use a small group in collecting data, whereas individual interview usually applies a large population in obtaining information about a particular idea or situation (Cyr, 2016). The other difference between focus groups and individual interviews is that while collecting data, the data gathering from the focus groups usually portrays the concept of the focus group while in a one-on-one interview the data collected regularly represent the opinion of one person involved in the study.
The other significant difference between focus groups and individual interviews is that focus groups can generate new ideas that might affect the project of the topic of discussion which will be vital in improving the content of the topic of discussion (Amtmann et al., 2018). However, in individual interviews, the interview can only offer answers to the questions that are provided by the interviewer (Strandenaes, Lund, & Rokstad, (2018). The other difference is data retrieved from focus groups are usually rich due to the synergetic interaction that is generally involved between individuals in focus groups as they can generate many ideas that might improve the original idea (Guest et al., 2017). However, in individual interviews, information might be limited and might fail to offer data that might be essential in increasing the relevance of the particular idea or project or commodity (Baillie, 2018). The level of data collected from focus groups has a high level of reliability compared to data gathered from individual interviews (Polak, & Green, 2016). Sensitive information and personal disclosure are more likely to occur in focus groups compared to individual interviews, thus leading to data being collected are limited to the research topic.
Diversity of ideas is the other significant disparity underlining focus groups and individual interviews. Focus groups usually integrate multiple individuals who carry out in-depth discussion about a particular idea or project. Due to this reason, it is quite apparent that individuals in focus groups can generate many ideas which might prove to be crucial in fostering the agenda of the focus group (Toma et al, 2018). However, individual interviews are usually limited to information offered by the interviews as they can only provide their opinion regarding only the questions that have been provided by the interviewer regarding a particular idea (Price et al., 2019). The limited information provided by an individual might fail to integrate the element of diversity in addressing the critical issues of the research topic. In evaluating the selection criteria of participants, it is apparent that in individual interviews, participants are usually selected randomly unlike participants that are chosen in focus groups where individuals have common interests to the agenda or have shared same interests.
Given the topic you are currently using for your research, would you consider using a
focus group for your study? Why or why not?
In evaluating the study topic, it is quite apparent that the focus group will prove to be essential in acquiring or collecting data that can be used in conducting an in-depth assessment regarding the issue. In this case, the study topic being evaluated relates to the menace of drug abuse which has been an issue that has exposed the lives of the most individual at a higher risk and to some extent led to deaths of most drug addicts. Focus group which will be created will play a significant role in addressing the issue of drug addiction and identify strategies that can be applied to dealing with the issue of drug addiction. In this case, focus groups will be vital in acquiring the opinions of these individuals as it will integrate members who had direct experience with the issue of drug addiction in the community (Krueger et al., 2017). The opinions offered will be crucial in improving the level of relevance of the ideas that might be implemented with the core issue of addressing the issue of drug addiction. Focus groups will be crucial in ensuring that there is a high level of diversity of ideas that are being shared among group members, which will be vital in improving the outcome of the agenda being discussed.
Focus groups will play a significant role in ensuring that new ideas are generated that will reduce the issue of drug addiction. The information offered by the focus group will have a high level of reliability to the various policy makers as most individuals in the focus groups have the experience, and each of them has an individual strategy of conquering drug addiction.
Amtmann, D., Liljenquist, K., Bamer, A., Bocell, F., Jensen, M., Wilson, R., & Turk, D. (2018). Measuring pain catastrophizing and pain-related self-efficacy: expert panels, focus groups, and cognitive interviews. The Patient-Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, 11(1), 107-117.
Baillie, L. (2018). Exchanging focus groups for individual interviews during qualitative data collection: a discussion. Nurse Researcher, In-Press.
Cyr, J. (2016). The pitfalls and promise of focus groups as a data collection method. Sociological Methods & Research, 45(2), 231-259.
Guest, G., Namey, E., Taylor, J., Eley, N., & McKenna, K. (2017). Comparing focus groups and individual interviews: findings from a randomized study. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 20(6), 693-708.
Krueger, A. B., Colletti, P., Bogner, H. R., Barg, F. K., & Stineman, M. G. (2017). Conducting focus groups in Second Life on health-related topics. J Alternative Med Res, 9(2), 357.
Polak, L., & Green, J. (2016). Using joint interviews to add analytic value. Qualitative health research, 26(12), 1638-1648.
Price, S., Perry, R., Mantell, O., Trinder, J., & Pitts, S. (2019). Spontaneity and planning in arts attendance: insights from qualitative interviews and the Audience Finder database. Cultural Trends, 28(2-3), 220-238.
Rothwell, E., Anderson, R., & Botkin, J. R. (2016). Deliberative discussion focus groups. Qualitative health research, 26(6), 734-740.
Strandenaes, M. G., Lund, A., & Rokstad, A. M. M. (2018). Experiences of attending day care services designed for people with dementia-a qualitative study with individual interviews. Aging & mental health, 22(6), 764-772.
Toma, M., Dreischulte, T., Gray, N. M., Campbell, D., & Guthrie, B. (2018). Balancing measures or a balanced accounting of improvement impact: a qualitative analysis of individual and focus group interviews with improvement experts in Scotland. BMJ Qual Saf, 27(7), 547-556.
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