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Online Focus Groups: Investigating Diversity Training Issues in Literacy Teacher Education

By: , & Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In 2014, we, the above authors and others on our research team, embarked on Phase II of an examination of how teacher educators were implementing diversity concerns in literacy teacher education courses and programs. The electronic survey data used in Phase I did not allow us to adequately address our research questions: What are the beliefs and values teacher educators hold about diversity as it relates to teacher preparation programs? How do teacher educators describe the experience they provide around diversity? In this article, we present a case study account of our Phase II online focus group research methodology. This phase involved traditional focus group protocols conducted with Web 2.0 technology as a means to explore what influences literacy teacher educators’ teaching practices and developing beliefs about literacy and learning where diversity is concerned. In the course of our study, we encountered certain situational and methodological problems, which we discuss. As such, this case study sheds light on the procedures and challenges of using Web 2.0 technologies for the online focus groups. An examination of these challenges leads to a more general consideration of the relationship between online focus group and traditional focus group methods in qualitative research. Particular attention is paid to the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies to gain access to a broader range of participants.

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