Morgan, D. L. (1988). Focus groups as qualitative research. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications.
In his book, Morgan defines focus groups as a “research technique that collects data through group interaction on a topic determined by the researcher.” (p.6) Focus groups can be used as a supplementary tool where the groups serve as a source of preliminary data for a primarily quantitative study or they can be used as to provide follow-up data to assist with a primary method (i.e. greater understanding of poorly understood survey results). Focus groups may also be used as a self-contained method where the focus group is the primary means of collecting data in a qualitative study. This type of study leads to an emphasis on the design of the research. When conducting a multi-method research study, focus groups add to the data from other qualitative methods, for instance if conducting an ethnography, the researcher would simply add focus groups as an additional method of collecting the data, say in addition to individual interviews. Continue reading