It can save time to discuss things in a group and people will bounce ideas, memories and feelings around. You will have to watch out for bias creeping in if you are trying to manage a group discussion.
|Research method||Preparation time||Time to gather data||Time to analyse data||Not suitable for ...||Does data indicate wellbeing?||Who, what, where people experience wellbeing?||Is it an activity in itself?|
|Group interviews and discussions||Need time to devise interview questions||Approx 30 mins to allow time for discussion to get going||Slow – need to listen to all recordings/read notes||People lacking in confidence, where group dynamic is problematic, parents looking after children, people who struggle to communicate complex ideas||Yes, with appropriate questions||Yes, with appropriate questions||Yes|
- participants who are more articulate
- participants confident talking in a group, and confident enough to be recorded
- participants who feel under pressure if interviewed alone
- stakeholders – particularly if you want to get a general feel for stakeholders’ expectation of wellbeing.
What information is collected?
- people’s thoughts and feelings rather than observations of actual behaviour
- taking into account the bias when analysing interviews it is a way for people to be represented directly in the research – can use direct quotes as evidence
- results may be affected by passage of time e.g. if discussion is held after woodland sessions, rather than during.
How is information collected?
- recorded on video/audio – though it can be hard to distinguish different voices, particularly in large groups
- written notes – though this can be very challenging in group discussions, especially if you are facilitating discussion.
Watch out for:
- research bias because group – people influence each other
- who is present e.g. teachers, managers or authority figures who might stifle some views
- members of the group who have a particular agenda/ideas and steer discussion towards this
- asking leading questions. It can be helpful to write a ‘script’ and have a ‘dummy’ run so that you feel comfortable with this style of questioning/discussion leading. You can also explain to participants that you don’t want to ask leading questions
- you could try role-playing or trialling discussions/group interviews so that you can feel comfortable before doing it for real.