Culturally Responsive Focus Groups: Reframing the Research Experience to Focus on Participants

  • Katrina L. Rodriguez University of Northern Colorado
  • Jana L. Schwartz University of Northern Colorado
  • Maria K. E. Lahman MKEL
  • Monica R. Geist Front Range Community College


Focus groups are a frequently employed and valued method of data collection in the Social Sciences. This article specifically addresses maximizing the benefits of focus groups through the framework of culturally responsive research practice. Discussion of authors’ research projects which utilized focus groups are presented in order to illuminate the advantages of using culturally responsive focus groups (CRFGs) in data collection. Three types of focus groups are discussed: traditional focus groups, CRFGs, and naturally occurring CRFGs. Focus groups are a powerful qualitative research method which, especially when designed to be culturally responsive, facilitate collection of rich and authentic data. Culturally responsive research practice will enhance work with a wide range of populations but is particularly important when facilitating groups with persons who have been traditionally marginalized. Methodological and ethical concerns of CRFGs are discussed.

Author Biographies

Katrina L. Rodriguez, University of Northern Colorado
Assistant Professor Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership
Jana L. Schwartz, University of Northern Colorado
Doctoral Student Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership
Maria K. E. Lahman, MKEL
Associate Professor Qualitative Methodologist Applied Statistics and Research Methods
Monica R. Geist, Front Range Community College
Assistant Professor Mathematics