Focus Groups : Applying Communication Theory through Design, Facilitation, and Analysis book cover
1st Edition

Focus Groups
Applying Communication Theory through Design, Facilitation, and Analysis

ISBN 9781138238008
Published November 24, 2016 by Routledge
148 Pages

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Book Description

Despite the fact that focus groups are an ideal research tool for studying and employing group communication in action, many research practitioners and scholars have missed the opportunity to utilize them to their maximum benefit. Few researchers have the skills that enable them to approach focus group facilitation and analysis from a communication point of view. In this book, Dr. Christine Davis teaches readers how to take a project from an idea to the design, facilitation, and analysis stages. This book takes a unique communication perspective to apply group communication theories, knowledge of group processes, and a close discourse analysis approach to explain and understand the discursive aspect of focus groups. This book helps readers of all stages of experience - including those with no background in focus group research to those practitioners with more focus group expertise - understand how a communication approach to focus groups takes advantage of this discipline’s rich scholarship in group communication and discourse analysis. 

This book will teach readers how to

a. understand the nature of focus group research procedures from a communication point of view;

b. understand how to translate RQs into a focus group protocol;

c. use knowledge of communication theory and group process to understand how to facilitate different kinds of focus groups, prevent and overcome challenges in focus group facilitation; and elicit different outcomes and techniques when facilitating a focus group;

d. use knowledge of communication theory and group process to recognize the merits of different approaches to focus group facilitation;

e. use knowledge of communication theory and group process to recognize good- and poor-quality focus groups;

f. understand how to transcribe / code / analyze focus group data from a communication (discursive) perspective; and

g. understand how to write focus group findings.

Table of Contents

1 Focus Group History and Practice

2 Group Dynamics and Communication Theories

3 Focus Group Study Design

4 Facilitation Guide

5 Facilitation Tips and Techniques

6 Group Facilitation Practice and Feedback

7 Coding and Analysis with Discourse Analysis

8 Taking It to the Next Level

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Christine S. Davis, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UNC-Charlotte. Her research interests are in the intersection of family, culture, and health communication. Dr. Davis publishes regularly on topics such as children’s health, end-of-life communication, disability, and qualitative research methods. She has published over 50 academic books, journal articles, book chapters, and other publications and has received numerous research awards. Her B.A. degree in Communication is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), her M.A. degree in Communication Studies is from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Ph.D. in Communication Studies was awarded by the University of South Florida.


"Christine S. Davis provides conceptually clear, logically organized, concisely written presentation of this dynamic method for information discovery. Whether read by a student of qualitative research or an experienced market consultant, this book's contents will illuminate and guide their development of focus groups."

-Rosalyn M. Bertram, Co-Director, Child and Family Evidence Based Practice Consortium


"Focus Groups is a great resource for communication professionals, both current and aspiring, who are interested in conducting focus group research. Davis shares examples to help illustrate complicated ideas and theories in an easy to understand way. As the communication director for a large non-profit, I'll use this as my go-to guide for using focus groups to improve donor relations and understand how we can communicate our mission more effectively to all stakeholders."

-Shelley Henderson, Divisional Communication Director, The Salvation Army of North and South Carolina