Analysing group interaction in focus group research: Impact on content and the role of the moderator


  • Mette Grønkjær
  • Tine Curtis
  • Charlotte de Crespigny
  • Charlotte Delmar



Interaction between group participants is considered the distinct advantage and hallmark of focus group research. It is therefore necessary to include the social interaction dynamics in analysing focus group data. Little information is however available on analysis of the social interaction in the group and the analytical outcome for the content of the data. This paper contributes to the discussion of the value of participant interaction in focus group research by analysing sequences of interaction collected recently during a research project. This project utilized focus groups to investigate the perceptions and meanings of alcohol use in Denmark. As a frame for analysing group interaction, elements of conversation analysis were used. The aim of this paper is to illustrate group interaction and its impact on the content of focus group data, and highlight the role and some of the challenges posed by group interaction for moderating the focus group discussion. The interaction analyses led to the construction of four interactional events: Negotiating and constructing normality in interaction, disagreement and/or consensus, homogeneity and the impact on interaction and content, and coming to and making sense of a dead-end (including the risk of hierarchical issues). The interactional events are followed by considerations on the impact they may have on the role of the moderator.


How to Cite

Grønkjær, M., Curtis, T., de Crespigny, C., & Delmar, C. (2011). Analysing group interaction in focus group research: Impact on content and the role of the moderator. Qualitative Studies, 2(1), 16–30.



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