Focus groups as social arenas for the negotiation of normativity

Tine Mechlenborg Kristiansen*, Mette Grønkjær

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Aim: This article aims to demonstrate how focus group discussions act as a social arena for the negotiation of social norms and normativity and to discuss the implications for the analysis of focus group discussions. Participants and methods: We have used sequences of group interactions from a focus group study on everyday life and chronic illness to demonstrate how methodological tools from conversation analysis and discursive psychology can be used to facilitate a systematic analysis of the negotiation and legitimization of social norms and normativity in focus groups. The empirical data consisted of six focus groups with a total of 32 participants. Results: The analysis demonstrated negotiations on normativity concerning four central aspects related to living with chronic illness: negotiating normativity about adjustment to the disease, negotiating normativity about being a dutiful employee, negotiating normativity about responsibility for the illness, and negotiating normativity about carrying on. Conclusion: Although the role of interaction in focus group data analysis and its impact on the content of the data should always be viewed in relation to the specific study and study focus, based on the analyses, we argue that adding different epistemological and analytical lenses to a data set may produce different, additional, and more complex insights into the research field.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-11
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2018