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Designing an Interview Study
Conducting focus groups. A skilful and experienced moderator is one of the most important determinants of a focus group’s success. A moderator must generate a discussion about a particular topic without leading the group to confirm an existing hypothesis. For those matters a second researcher is useful for making notes and giving a feedback. There are three parts to conducting a discussion:
1. Introductions – the moderator must set a tone to the further discussion, overall topic and general rules can be introduced as well as moderator’s expectations from the session;
2. Beginning the discussion – icebreakers are widely used to make participants feel more at ease with each other;
3. Substantive discussion – the moderator can reiterate participants’ comments, ask them for a clarification and summarize their statements to stress the key points and to maintain a sense of flow and direction;
As an alternative to real discussions online focus groups are offered. They can both facilitate the process as the respondents are braver when not face-to-face as well as create impersonality and thus irresponsibility. Online discussions can be conducted in three different manners:
1. Brainstorming – generating alternative solutions and ideas;
2. Delphi group – questionnaires are used to estimate the impacts of trends;
3. Nominal groups – gathering and combining individual ideas and afterwards voting for the most useful ones.
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