Review Essay: Focus Group Practices: Studying Conversation

  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe University of Massachusetts
Keywords: focus groups, conversation analysis, discursive psychology, interaction, participation, market research


Focus Group Practice aims at analyzing the interactional process that supports the success of focus groups. The book makes specific observations of what effective focus group moderation can accomplish. Informed by theoretical and methodological approaches taken from conversation and discourse analysis, this work aims at an analysis of the micro-practices that characterize the focus group process. The seven chapters of the book include recommendations for moderators as well as researchers interested in studying focus group methodology as a subject in itself. The book, an analysis of what goes on in the form of conversational processes, is purposely not a "how to" of focus groups, but rather a careful unveiling of the "choreographic" movements that lead to successful group interviews. It includes a series of brief examples of market-research focus groups and pedagogical definitions of conversation analysis and discursive psychology key concepts. A set of principles related to what creates an effective focus group interaction organizes each chapter (interaction, informality, participation, and opinions). Also included are some conversational analysis artifacts like explanations about how transcription is employed in conversational analysis. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs050293


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Author Biography

Gonzalo Bacigalupe, University of Massachusetts
Gonzalo BACIGALUPE, EdD, is associate professor at the Family Therapy Program, Graduate College of Education, University of Massachusetts Boston; associate professor at the Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Invited Professor Psychotherapeutic Interventions Master-Degree, School of Psychology, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, Spain. He is co-senior editor of the Journal of Systemic Therapies. A recent Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, his fieldwork studied the case of health care access for immigrants in Catalunya. His scholarly interests include the clinical work with bicultural couples and families, collaborative consultation and supervision, family health psychology, health access for immigrants and health access disparities (chronic pain treatment, medication strategies among elderly Latinos, health care satisfaction among Latino immigrants, and ADD services), and qualitative data analysis. In a previous issue of FQS Gonzalo BACIGALUPE has reviewed "The Intuitive Practitioner" ( (edited by Terry ATKINSON & Guy CLAXTON, 2000).
How to Cite
Bacigalupe, G. (2005). Review Essay: Focus Group Practices: Studying Conversation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(2).