Re-focussing qualitative research: perspectives of health services researchers

Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Dr Angela Dawson
Prof Kathleen Clapman
Joanna Mason

Little is known about Focus group discussion (FGD) methods in Aboriginal health services research. The Re-Focus study explores the experiences of researchers who have used FGDs, Aboriginal participants, and policy makers who apply this evidence in decision-making. This paper presents preliminary findings from the first stage of this ARC funded study. 

Interviews were conducted with 40 researchers who have used FGD in ARC/ National Health and Medical Research Council funded research, government tenders and contracts over the past five years. Interviews provided insight into the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of focus group research, FGD procedures and the role of Aboriginal participants. 

In-depth responses elicited key themes that included why FGDs were chosen as a method, the appropriateness of the method, strengths and weaknesses, how Aboriginal people are involved in research, moderation of the FGD, how participants are selected and recruited, how data is analysed and dissemination and translation of the research findings. 

Findings from all perspectives in this study will provide practical recommendations for FGD researchers to ensure that methods used are consistent with Aboriginal approaches to consultation, ownership and ways of knowing, and increase confidence in the findings for use in decision-making in Aboriginal health service planning and delivery.