An analysis of the effectiveness of focus groups as a method of qualitative data collection with Chinese populations in nursing research

S Twinn
Journal of Advanced Nursing 1998, 28 (3): 654-61
Although there has been a significant increase in the use of focus groups as a qualitative method of data collection in health and nursing research, literature on the use of this method with Chinese populations is limited. This study was therefore undertaken to explore the contribution of focus groups as a method of data collection amongst Hong Kong Chinese women. The study involved the comparison of the data obtained from two concurrent research studies which both employed case study design and focus groups as a major method of data collection. In both studies the samples involved Chinese women. The findings demonstrate that factors such as recruitment to the groups and interaction of group members did not adversely affect the quality of the data. Indeed the depth of data obtained on a range of sensitive topics suggests that the use of focus groups provides an effective method of collecting qualitative data with the Chinese populations in the described studies. However, a particular issue to emerge from this method of collection relates to the complexity of transcription and translation of the Chinese data which in the author's view has implications for the quality of the data. This finding indicates the importance of undertaking data analysis in the language of the interview, rather than that of the translated data, to avoid compromising the quality of data obtained from non-English speaking populations.

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