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Using plenary focus groups in information systems research: More than a collection of interviews

Sobreperez, P 2008, 'Using plenary focus groups in information systems research: More than a collection of interviews' , Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6 (2) , pp. 181-188.

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Standard data collection techniques in qualitative research have included surveys, interviews and observations. The Focus group technique is a more recent addition to the empirical researcher's repertoire and is highly appropriate to Information Systems research in particular circumstances. This paper introduces a focus group approach to the study of information systems using a case study scenario and employing a structuring technique borrowed from Soft Systems Methodology designed to shape the discussion and organize group attention on specific aspects of the descriptive process. The paper describes the conduct of focus groups with respect to individual incidents and defines a particular type of Focus Group which involves all persons attendant at an event, thereby removing problems of sampling and representativeness. The unique properties and advantages of this type of focus group in respect to IS research emerged from the case study and an example of the use of story elicitation technique is described. The case study scenario is a regional fire service and any fire or rescue related incident is unique, dynamic, live and real-time, in addition it requires the combined skills and actions of a group of individuals, none of whom may have a full overview of the situation until after the event. These factors are present in other events such as any emergency procedure, artistic or sporting performance, construction and demolition events. Recording of such events presents genuine problems for information systems and the elicitation technique helped the group members to think in different ways about the impact of their incident recording systems. As the technique has broader use across research disciplines, an attempt is made to identify the attributes and properties of these 'Plenary Focus Groups' in information systems research scenario that might lend themselves to focus group research as a useful and successful technique.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Data collection, qualitative research, research, focus groups, research instrument, empirical technique
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects / Themes > Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources
Subjects / Themes > B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Centre for Digital Business
Journal or Publication Title: Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods
Publisher: Academic Conferences International
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1477-7029
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Polly Sobreperez
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2009 15:01
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 15:59

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