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Qual Health Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):411-22.

"From the heart of my bottom": negotiating humor in focus group discussions.

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Graphic Science Unit, University of the West of England, England.


Reporting and analyzing interactional data collected during focus groups can be a significant challenge for qualitative health researchers. In this article, the authors explore the use of humor among focus group participants as one area of interaction and negotiation that is methodologically interesting and theoretically insightful. They explore discussions about service user involvement in medical education across eight focus groups consisting of medical educators, medical students, and service users. The findings suggest that humor can be used among focus group participants to maintain solidarity, navigate coping strategies, and negotiate power. Not only is humor useful when exploring new concepts, it can also be an indication of wider views that might not be explicit in an analysis of focus group members' comments alone. The authors urge qualitative health researchers to examine interactions among focus group participants, and their analysis of humor illustrates how this can be achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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