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Qual Health Res. 2010 May;20(5):617-27. doi: 10.1177/1049732310361466. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Comparison of focus groups on cancer and employment conducted face to face or by telephone.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita, 1010 N. Kansas Ave., Wichita, KS 67214, USA.


Findings from telephone focus groups have not been compared previously to findings from face-to-face focus groups. We conducted four telephone focus groups and five face-to-face focus groups in which a single moderator used the same open-ended questions and discussion facilitation techniques. This comparison was part of a larger study to gain a better understanding of employment experiences after diagnosis of gynecologic cancer. Offering the telephone option made it easier to recruit women from rural areas and geographically distant cities. Interaction between participants occurred in both types of focus group. Content analysis revealed that similar elements of the employment experience after cancer diagnosis were described by telephone and face-to-face participants. Participants disclosed certain emotionally sensitive experiences only in the telephone focus groups. Telephone focus groups provide useful data and can reduce logistical barriers to research participation. Visual anonymity might help some participants feel more comfortable discussing certain personal issues.

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