The use of the focus group method in social work research
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The focus group method continues to gain applicability in social work research. The article provides the rationale to use focus groups for a variety of research purposes in social work context. It aims at discussing practical aspects that constitute focus group research process. Based on the author’s research experience and common guidelines for focus groups in social research, in addition specific implications coming from social work context are outlined. Though it is considered that focus groups are relatively easy to conduct, the article shows that in practice a researcher has to be aware of possible difficulties as well as alternative approaches towards focus group process. The role of moderator, selection of participants, deciding upon structure as well as technical requirements are discussed in detail. An exemplary framework for focus group discussion is provided for efficient planning and moderating of focus group. The article aims at social work practitioners who may find focus group useful for their research needs providing with tips for efficient practice of focus group research.
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