Inquiry on Focus Group & Survey: Online International News

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Inquiry on Focus Group & Survey: Online International News

Post by rogerwimmer » Wed May 21, 2014 6:39 am

Hi. I am a doctoral student researching international news in online media. My questions are: If I am complimenting a focus group with a survey, how useful will it be to have homogeneous groups in both the cases? So as to say, can I anyway generalize the result out of it?

Also how good would it be to correlate a heterogeneous focus group result with a homogeneous sample survey result? Which one will be better to reach a stronger conclusion? It will be a great help to receive your response. - Anonymous

Anon: Thanks for writing and good luck with your studies. On to your questions . . .

Question 1: If you are going to combine the results of the focus groups and the survey, the samples should be homogenous (age, sex, screener requirements, etc.) However, you may want to use different types of respondents in your focus groups to see if there are differences from what you find in your survey. In this case, your focus groups would provide indications of what may or may not exist in the general population.

Question 2: I don’t know the research questions you are investigating, but it sounds as though you may be conducting research in the topic. If that’s the case, then it would be a good idea to get information from a variety of people. Therefore, a correlation of your survey with homogeneous and heterogeneous focus groups would be excellent. Both approaches would be equally as “strong,” so don’t limit yourself on the approach.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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