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Methodological issues of applying focus groups with children


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Vogl, Susanne:
Methodological issues of applying focus groups with children.
Veranstaltung: ESA 9th Conference, 02.-05. Sept. 2009, Lisboa.
(Veranstaltungsbeitrag: Kongress/Konferenz/Symposium/Tagung, Vortrag)


Children are increasingly seen as competent informants where their interests and needs are in question. We cannot only rely on assessments of adults, as children have their own view. This has consequences for the social research methods we apply. Typically research methods are developed with adults and their abilities in mind. But children have different needs and abilities and therefore pose specific demands on research design and researcher. Although in
practice there has been some research employing children, so far methodological conclusions are rare.
In this paper focus groups as means of data collection are examined. The guiding
questions are: Which peculiarities result regarding the method of focus groups when carried out with children? How can we enhance children’s potential for participation? How can we improve data quality by adapting the method to respondent abilities?
The analyses are based on five focus groups conducted with children and adolescents aged 6 to 16 in Germany, dealing with comparable topics and tasks. The core categories of the analyses were verbal, interactive and cognitive abilities of children in focus-group situations, different levels of activities during the focus groups, specifics of group interaction, as well as procedural aspects and their implications for the feasibility of focus-group research. Furthermore, to achieve a broad picture of the focus groups, not only respective qualitative (e.g. evaluation of the content of the statements) but also quantitative aspects (e.g. number of words used) were considered. These factors were used to draw conclusions regarding cognitive, social and verbal abilities of children at different ages in focus-group situations, the consequences for the method, as well as its resulting advantages and disadvantages.
The results show the different abilities and needs of each age group and point out the feasibility and potential gain in insights possible through using focus groups with children.

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Publikationsform:Veranstaltungsbeitrag (unveröffentlicht): Kongress/Konferenz/Symposium/Tagung, Vortrag
Schlagwörter:focus group; children; abilities
Institutionen der Universität:Geschichts- und Gesellschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät > Soziologie > Lehrstuhl für Soziologie und empirische Sozialforschung
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 12. Feb 2010 17:05
Letzte Änderung: 12. Feb 2010 17:05
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