Focus groups in nursing research: an appropriate method or the latest fad?
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Focus groups in nursing research: an appropriate method or the latest fad?

Brenda Happell Associate Professor/Director, Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice, School of Nursing, University of Melbourne, Australia

The use of focus groups as a method of nursing research has increased substantially over the past 20 years. In this paper, Brenda Happell describes a review of literature published from 1985 to 2004. Multiple uses are described for the focus-group approach, it may, for example, as a method in its own right and as a precursor to other methodological approaches. Advantages and disadvantages of focus groups as a research method are frequently considered. However, a rationale for the use of the method is frequently not provided, making it difficult to determine the extent to which the use of the method reflects the appropriateness, rather than the popularity, of the approach. This paper suggests some circumstances in which focus groups should be used with caution, if at all.

Nurse Researcher. 14, 2, 18-24. doi: 10.7748/nr2007.

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