Skip to main content

Online Focus Groups: National Focus Groups With Diverse Older Adults

By: , & Published: 2021 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
+- LessMore information
Search form
No results
Not Found
Download Case PDF


Online focus groups are increasingly used as a cost- and time-efficient way to run focus group research. They are particularly useful for bringing together people who are located far apart, from diverse backgrounds, or from hard-to-reach groups who are not able to (or do not wish to) attend face-to-face focus groups, for example, carers, people with disabilities or stigmatizing backgrounds. This case study reviews three national online focus groups (total n = 103) part of a larger research project looking at older people’s daily lived experience of home and community. The focus groups were run continuously (24/7) over a 4-day period on a private online research platform. The resulting data were made up of 1,800+ text posts about participants’ home and community life. This method combined the benefits of face-to-face focus groups and interviews as the moderator could delve deeper into responses and engage other participants in discussion of emerging topic areas. High levels of engagement and disclosure were experienced, resulting in rich, candid, and reflective discussions. While employing a private contractor is more expensive than low-cost platforms typically used for online focus groups, for example, social media sites, the approach is more cost- and time-efficient in terms of recruitment, travel, and venue costs compared with face-to-face alternatives. This method shows promise for researchers investigating sensitive or contentious topics and for research questions which benefit from diverse participant engagement. Studies should ensure thorough planning and piloting to estimate engagement levels and sufficient moderator availability to manage the 24/7 multiday format.

Looks like you do not have access to this content.

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website