Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Soc Psychiatry. 1996 Autumn;42(3):193-206.

Focus groups in mental health research: enhancing the validity of user and provider questionnaires.

Author information

Mental Health Research Unit, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Exeter, England.


Most mental health researchers rely upon quantitative methods of data collection. Whilst such methods are commonly seen as reliable, qualitative methods are often seen as more valid. Despite the value of qualitative methods of data collection, however, many researchers denigrate their use. Qualitative research is often viewed as lacking in scientific rigour. This paper explores the use of the focus group as a qualitative instrument to enhance the validity of existing questionnaires for mental health service users and providers. Between July and August 1995 four focus groups were conducted in Exeter and Taunton among service users (with severe or long-term mental health problems) and providers (community psychiatric nurses, social workers and occupational therapists). It is demonstrated that focus groups enhance the validity of existing questionnaires by highlighting those concerns held by users and providers that would otherwise have been neglected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center