Similar to the individual interview, focus group methodologies systematically collect knowledge from the experiences of individuals, but do so in a group setting. This allows for building new knowledge actively and in real-time between group members and researchers. Because data collection takes place in a group, however, participants must agree to confidentiality to protect the identities of those involved as well as the issues and topics discussed. Privacy can only be protected if participants agree to abide by these principles, holding back identifying details during conversations, and not disclosing what was discussed afterwards. Researchers should possess good group management skills to deal with ethical situations as they arise. For instance, the focus group may not be designed to discuss sensitive topics, but if sensitive issues come up, the researcher may need to intervene and return the discussion to the agreed topic. Researchers will also need to manage the discussion so that some participants do not dominate the group, and encourage everyone to participate. As with other qualitative studies, like interviews or surveys, researchers may find themselves in a moral dilemma if they learn incriminating or illegal information about study participants or those associated with the participants. As a systematic, preliminary study for biomedical or genetic studies, it may help establish trust and understanding between participants and researchers. Overall, this methodology is well-suited for researchers seeking to engage and collaborate with communities for a variety of purposes in disaster settings.
Which of the following are features of your study?