chapter  20
16 Pages

Using Focus Groups to Study Work and Family

Focus groups are increasingly being used as a research tool in work-family and work-life research, and are popular as a source ofinformation on a wide range ofwork-family issues, experiences, and dilemmas. Focus groups are usually defined either as group interviews (Hughes & DuMont, 1993) or group discussions (Kreuger, 1998). In most cases, a focus group is understood to be a group of 6-12 participants, with an interviewer, or moderator, asking questions about a particular topic. The emphasis is on the way the group discusses the issues, with interactions between participants in the group being the distinctive characteristic of focus group methodology. This interaction within groups generates a particular type of data (Kitzinger, 1995), something in between a natural discussion of a relevant topic and a constrained group interview with set questions.