Toward More Rigor in Focus Group Research: A New Framework for Collecting and Analyzing Focus Group Data


  • Anthony John Onwuegbuzie Sam Houston State University
  • Wendy B. Dickinson Ringling School of Art and Design
  • Nancy L. Leech University of Colorado Denver
  • Annmarie G Zoran University of South Florida


Despite the abundance of published material on conducting focus groups, scant specific information exists on how to analyze focus group data in social science research. Thus, the authors provide a new qualitative framework for collecting and analyzing focus group data. First, they identify types of data that can be collected during focus groups. Second, they identify the qualitative data analysis techniques best suited for analyzing these data. Third, they introduce what they term as a micro-interlocutor analysis, wherein meticulous information about which participant responds to each question, the order in which each participant responds, response characteristics, the nonverbal communication used, and the like is collected, analyzed, and interpreted. They conceptualize how conversation analysis offers great potential for analyzing focus group data. They believe that their framework goes far beyond analyzing only the verbal communication of focus group participants, thereby increasing the rigor of focus group analyses in social science research.

Author Biography

Anthony John Onwuegbuzie, Sam Houston State University

Anthony Onwuegbuzie, Ph.D., is professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Sam Houston State University. He teaches courses in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research, and writes extensively on topics related to all three areas. Dr. Onwuegbuzie has secured more than 200 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and has made approximately 400 presentations and keynote addresses at regional, national, and international conferences and venues. He is editor of Educational Researcher and co-editor of Research in the Schools.