“You’re on Mute”: A Reflective Case Study of Conducting Scenario-Based Online Focus Groups on Student Privacy in Higher Education


This case study describes the design and implementation of scenario-based focus groups run by a collaborative research team consisting of eight individuals spread across eight institutions within the United States. Originally intended to be face-to-face, the research team pivoted mid-study to adapt the scenario design for the fully online environment in higher education dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifting modalities presented us with a number of challenges, in particular logistical obstacles with recruiting and the need to anticipate and prepare for using Zoom to conduct online focus groups. Our ultimate success was based on collaborative planning, clear data management, and extensive documentation.

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