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Focus-Group Interviewing for Curricula Analysis Related to Nutrition, Health, and Food Safety in the Romanian Educational System

By: & Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This case study presents some of the practical aspects of focus-group interviews used in the frame of a broader research accomplished through Erasmus+ Project Let’s make it better! Raising the awareness of the triad nutrition-health-food safety in school education (EDU FOR HEALTH). The interviews were conducted within the activity project titled “Critical analysis of the national curricula related to nutrition, health, and food safety.” The analysis was needed in order to design the most suitable training process for teachers in preschool, primary, and secondary education regarding the relation among nutrition, eating habits, and health status. The knowledge teachers acquired through the trainings constitutes the basis for an innovative approach to the integration of food science education and related subjects within the curricula. In this case study, we discuss the issues that researchers face in preparing and conducting a focus-group interview and reveal some methodological problems we faced, including the following: why this research method rather than another, how to establish focus groups that will work, how to mitigate any possible animosity between participants, how to overcome the silences during the interviewing, how to assure a comfortable ambiance for discussions, and how to make sure that all the information needed is obtained before ending the interview. This case study also shows the importance of thorough preparation before conducting the interview, the need for spontaneity and good discussion management skills, and the advantages of this research method.

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