This course provides participants with an in-depth introduction to successfully conducting and facilitating online focus groups. Traditionally, online focus groups have tended to be viewed as inferior to the traditional physical ‘face-to-face’ focus group. However, online focus groups can vary in form and offer us a valuable means by which to conduct social research with a range of diverse groups via various information and communication technologies. The course covers the principles and benefits of online focus groups, and the challenges which online communication poses when conducting focus groups virtually. We cover how to design, conduct and facilitate a synchronous online focus group using voice and video technologies. Participants are provided with guidance and the opportunity to practice running an online focus group, including strategies for participation and ethical considerations.
This introductory course will benefit researchers who are new to qualitative research methods and those who already have a basic understanding of qualitative research methods but are new to conducting focus groups in online settings.
Dr Karen Lumsden is currently Assistant Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen. She has over 15 years experience teaching qualitative research methods at postgraduate level and to academics and practitioners. This includes courses at the University of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow, University of Essex and Kingston University, and for the Social Research Association.
Karen has also designed and delivered social research methods training for police officers and staff via the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC) and for research consultancies. She has authored a number of academic books and journal articles in the areas of sociology and criminology, and on qualitative research methods. Karen is also Chair of the Editorial Board of Sociological Research Online.
This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme