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Home arrow Environment arrow Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
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Why Are Focus Groups So Popular?

The focus group method was a commercial success from the 1950s on, but it lay dormant in academic circles for more than 20 years. This is probably because the method is virtually devoid of statistics. Beginning in the late 1970s, however, interest among social researchers of all kinds boomed as researchers came to understand the benefits of combining qualitative and quantitative methods.

Focus groups do not replace surveys, but rather complement them. You can convene a focus group to discuss questions for a survey. Do the questions seem arrogant to respondents? Appropriate? Naive? A focus group can discuss the wording of a particular question or offer advice on how the whole questionnaire comes off to respondents. And you can convene a focus group to help interpret the results of a survey. But focus groups are not just adjuncts to surveys. They are widely used to find out why people feel as they do about something or the steps people go through in making decisions.

 
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