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A proposed model for the analysis and interpretation of focus groups in evaluation research


  • Massey, Oliver T.


Focus groups have an established history in applied research and evaluation. The fundamental methods of the focus group technique have been well discussed, as have their potential advantages. Less guidance tends to be provided regarding the analysis of data resulting from focus groups or how to organize and defend conclusions drawn from the analysis. This article reviews the methodology of the focus group with an emphasis on thematic analysis of latent data at three levels, articulated, attributional, and emergent. The three levels are described and illustrated with respect to their value and contribution to evaluation within the framework of the group method and qualitative standards of thematic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Massey, Oliver T., 2011. "A proposed model for the analysis and interpretation of focus groups in evaluation research," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 21-28, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:34:y:2011:i:1:p:21-28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catterall & Maclaren, 1997. "Focus Group Data and Qualitative Analysis Programs: Coding the Moving Picture as Well as the Snapshots," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6.
    2. Trondsen, Marianne & Sandaunet, Anne-Grete, 2009. "The dual role of the action researcher," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 13-20, February.
    3. Holte-McKenzie, Merydth & Forde, Sarah & Theobald, Sally, 2006. "Development of a participatory monitoring and evaluation strategy," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 365-376, November.
    4. Thayer, Colette E. & Fine, Allison H., 2001. "Evaluation and outcome measurement in the non-profit sector: stakeholder participation," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 103-108, February.
    5. Hardy, Mary & Teruya, Cheryl & Longshore, Douglas & Hser, Yih-Ing, 2005. "Initial implementation of California's Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act: Findings from focus groups in ten counties," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 221-232, May.
    6. Nichols, Laura, 2002. "Participatory program planning: including program participants and evaluators," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-14, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pinto, R.M. & Rahman, R. & Williams, A., 2014. "Policy advocacy and leadership training for formerly incarcerated women: An empowerment evaluation of ReConnect, a program of the Women in Prison Project, Correctional Association of New York," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 71-81.
    2. Uba, Chijioke Dike & Chatzidakis, Andreas, 2016. "Understanding engagement and disengagement from pro-environmental behaviour: The role of neutralization and affirmation techniques in maintaining persistence in and desistance from car use," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 278-294.


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