The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 107-109).
Fundamental to the design of a focus group study is group composition. Specifically, the researcher must determine the degree of homogeneity or heterogeneity that should be represented by the group participants. As shown below, there are many questions the researcher needs to contemplate, such as the extent of similarity or dissimilarity in participants’ demographic characteristics, as well as in their experiences and involvement with the subject matter.
|Questions When Considering Heterogeneity vs. Homogeneity|
|A few of the questions the focus group researcher might consider when determining the desired heterogeneity or homogeneity among group participants include:
Whether or not—or the degree to which—group participants should be homogeneous in some or all characteristics has been at the center of debate for some years. On the one hand, Grønkjær, Curtis, Crespigny, and Delmar (2011) claim that at least some “homogeneity in focus group construction is considered essential for group interaction and dynamics” (p. 23)—for example, participants belonging to the same age group may have similar frames of reference and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with people who have lived through the same experience. In the same vein, Read Full Text