Back-talk Focus Groups as a Follow-Up Tool in Qualitative Migration Research: The Missing Link?

  • Annalisa Frisina University of Padua
Keywords: focus group, back-talk, reflexivity, Muslims, youth


This paper reflects upon a specific, but rarely used, methodological tool we term back-talk focus group, which consists in drawing together research participants to discuss research findings. After three years of research on Muslim youth in Italy we will show the importance of creating space for a further research stage called "back-talk". The paper will argue that focus group is a very useful tool to make a powerful back-talk for three main reasons. First it stimulates the reflexivity of the researcher by allowing to generate new data. Second, it empowers participants by allowing them greater role in the research process and more reflexive practices in civil society. Third, it ensures responsible dissemination of potentially sensitive issues to a potentially diverse and highly politicised audience. Following a general discussion of how back-talk focus group could contribute to create a research culture more reflexive and more social responsible, the paper will review the empirical case of a back-talk focus group of young Italian Muslims and will show their dissents, agreements and suggestions emerged through the discussion of the research results. We will conclude by reflecting on the main strengths of back-talk focus group and we will also note some limitations of this "missing link" in qualitative migration research. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs060352


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Author Biography

Annalisa Frisina, University of Padua
Annalisa FRISINA is a member of Hermes association and she has a post-doctoral grant in Sociology at the University of Padua. Her interests are in qualitative methodology and immigration, focus group and reflexivity, religious pluralism and cultural changes linked to generation and gender. Her last publications are: (2005) Famiglie musulmane immigrate e scuola. La parola alle donne (pp.119-128). In Antonio MARAZZI (Ed.), Voci di famiglie immigrate, Milano: Fondazione ISMU. (2005) Potersi sentire a casa anche qui (pp.81-117). In Antonio MARAZZI (Ed.), Voci di famiglie immigrate. Milano: Fondazione ISMU. (2005) Musulmani e italiani, tra le altre cose. Tattiche e strategie identitarie di giovani figli di immigrati (pp.161-187). In Andrea PACINI & Jocelyne CESARI (Eds.), Giovani musulmani in Europa. Torino: Centro E. Agnelli. (2005) Giovani musulmani d'Italia. Trasformazioni socioculturali e domande di cittadinanza (pp.139-160). In Andrea PACINI & Jocelyne CESARI (Eds.), Giovani musulmani in Europa. Torino: Centro E. Agnelli.