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Qual Health Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):539-47.

Doing synchronous online focus groups with young people: methodological reflections.

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The University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.


Although online focus groups are emerging as a worthwhile methodological approach for qualitative researchers, reporting has been constrained in several ways. The majority of studies report asynchronous groups, whereas others employ synchronous exchanges, the efficacy of which with young people has seldom been explored. Considering the popularity of the Internet as a communication tool for young people, this missed opportunity is surprising. Based on a series of synchronous online focus groups with young people, the authors explore why this approach might be an effective way of engaging young people with appearance-related concerns in research. In this article, they discuss the process of hosting and moderating synchronous online focus groups, highlighting some of the ethical, pragmatic, and personal challenges that might face researchers using this method. Through a reflexive approach, they intend to inform and encourage qualitative researchers to consider alternative ways of engaging young people in research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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