One of the strengths of focus groups is the insight they provide into participant interaction, which differs depending on whether participants are strangers or acquaintances. In this paper I reflect on experiences of conducting focus groups amongst acquaintances in naturally occurring settings, where participants were known to each other and participation was less about being recruited, and more about being there when the focus group took place. I draw on data from field notes as well as from the groups themselves. I describe challenges and benefits of using naturally occurring groups, and reflect on the way the findings from these groups illuminated aspects of the study concerning relationships. I conclude by suggesting that using focus groups in naturally occurring settings alongside other qualitative data collection affords insights into the research topic that would not otherwise be available.
aBrown S. Using focus groups in naturally occurring settings. Qualitative Research Journal 2015;15:86–97.
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