Focus groups generate ideas and information through the give and take of group discussion. Focus groups provide a rich and diverse body of data that is especially important in exploratory studies or in the preliminary stage of a research study.
For decades, focus groups have been used as an information-gathering tool in psychological research, but there are relatively few articles examining the rationale and evidence for focus group use and efficacy. Perhaps this is not surprising given that a primary dilemma in social science research is establishing that a given sample is representative of the general population. However, focus groups have proven to be an effective qualitative tool over time and, when used appropriately, yield valuable information that may not be gleaned by interviews, surveys, or observations alone.
The primary data sources for the needs assessment conducted by the UW-Madison PERC Research Team consisted of focus groups (20), listening sessions (6), and key informant interviews (10). These were qualitative, in-depth, in-person interactions with people who possess assumed extensive knowledge of disabilities, integrated employment, and integrated employment services for people with disabilities.
To ensure ongoing improvements, PERC is committed to continuing to conduct key stakeholder interviews and focus groups. If you are interested in being a part of a future focus group, contact us for more information: