Technology-enhanced focus groups as a component of instrument development
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Technology-enhanced focus groups as a component of instrument development

Tania D Strout Director of research, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, US
Rachel L DiFazio Nurse scientist, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, US
Judith A Vessey Professor, William F Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, US

Background Bullying is a critical public health problem and a screening tool for use in healthcare is needed. Focus groups are a common tool for generating qualitative data when developing an instrument and evidence suggests that technology-enhanced focus groups can be effective in simultaneously engaging participants from diverse settings.

Aim To examine the use of technology-enhanced focus groups in generating an item pool to develop a youth-bullying screening tool.

Discussion The authors explore methodological and ethical issues related to conducting technology-enhanced focus groups, drawing on their experience in developing a youth-bullying measure. They conducted qualitative focus groups with professionals from the front lines of bullying response and intervention. They describe the experience of conducting technology-enhanced focus group sessions, focusing on the methodological and ethical issues that researchers engaging in similar work may encounter. Challenges associated with this methodology include establishing rapport among participants, privacy concerns and limited non-verbal communication.

Conclusion The use of technology-enhanced focus groups can be valuable in obtaining rich data from a wide variety of disciplines and contexts. Organising these focus groups was inexpensive and preferred by the study’s participants.

Implications for practice Researchers should consider using technology-enhanced focus groups to generate data to develop health-related measurement tools.

Nurse Researcher. 25, 1, 16-23. doi: 10.7748/nr.2017.e1458


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest


Received: 06 January 2016

Accepted: 13 June 2016

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