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Public Health Nurs. 1999 Jun;16(3):190-7.

Conducting focus groups cross-culturally: experiences with Pacific northwest Indian people.

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  • 1Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington School of Nursing, Seattle 98195, USA.


Many disciplines have used focus groups in research and the use has increased in the past 15 years (Smith, 1995). Procedural concerns have been explored, such as the selection of the participants, the location, and the size of the group, but little attention has been given to the consideration of cultural influences. The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on the impact of culture in conducting focus groups. Experiences from 15 focus groups conducted in two qualitative research studies with two Washington state Indian tribes over a 5 year period are presented and illustrate the importance of culture in conducting focus groups. Communication patterns, roles, relationships, and traditions were found to be important elements that must be considered in conducting focus groups cross-culturally. While some strategies discovered were found to be helpful, additional research is needed.

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