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The Analytical Potential of ‘Sensitive Moments’ in Focus Group Discussions

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The Analytical Potential of ‘Sensitive Moments’ in Focus Group Discussions

A defining feature of focus group research is the use of interaction between research participants to generate data. It therefore follows that group dynamics should be given attention in the course of data analysis. It is useful to look closely at the different forms of interaction in the group such as arguments, mutual reinforcement, jokes and story-telling (see Kitzinger, 1994a). This chapter focuses on one specific aspect of group dynamics: the ‘sensitive moment’. Where earlier chapters explored ways of identifying and managing sensitivity in focus groups (in particular Chapter 4), here we examine its analytical potential.

‘Sensitive moments’ may be indicated by explicit comments from research participants, hesitation and awkwardness, reactions of surprise or shock, individual ...

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