Moral Geography of Focus Groups with Participants Who Have Preexisting Relationships in the Workplace

  • Anne T. Hofmeyer University of Alberta
  • Catherine M. Scott University of Calgary


Focus group interviews have become increasingly popular in the past three decades, but ethical issues related to conducting focus groups with participants who have preexisting power relationships in workplaces has received scant attention in the methodological qualitative literature. In this paper the authors offer three propositions to strengthen the moral geographical space between researchers and participants: (a) prior to data collection: highlight the risks and benefits of the method and stress that confidentiality cannot be assured outside the group; (b) during data collection: document group dynamics and encourage participants to share insights after the session; and (c) ongoing: researchers to research and write about the dynamics of the moral space between researcher-participant.