The Use of Focus Groups in Information Systems Research

By Stephen Burgess.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Of all the information technology-related disciplines, Information systems (IS) is the one most closely related to the social sciences, drawing from expertise in a number of areas, including computer science, management, accounting, economics and even philosophy. Information systems research is often very practically-oriented, commonly using methods such as case studies, ethnographies and action research to frame the study, guide data collection techniques and interpret results. One particular data collection technique that has gained in popularity amongst information systems researchers is that of the focus group, where groups of experts or others are drawn together to answer research questions – with the interactions between the focus group members being as important a tool (if not more important) for generating results as individual participant responses. Through a decade’s experience of conducting focus groups for information systems research, the author discusses the situations that lend themselves to conducting focus groups in preference to, say, interviews or surveys. The difference between ‘face-to-face’ and online focus groups are also discussed with the situations in which each of these would be applied also discussed at length.

Keywords: Focus Groups, Information Systems Research, Application, Face-to-Face, Online

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.57-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 660.596KB).

Dr. Stephen Burgess

Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia


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