Conducting Focus Groups


This two hour workshop will be suitable for those planning to use focus groups in their research or simply wanting to develop an understanding of the method and its application. After considering the origins and rise in popularity of focus groups as a research method, circumstances in which focus groups may or may not be suitable as a means of gathering data will be discussed in relation to the sorts of evidence they can produce. Ethical issues relating to the choice of focus groups as a research method will be explored, with reference to a range of relevant factors. Moving on to the practicalities of organising focus groups, sampling strategies, topic guides and in particular, moderation skills will be considered, as well as a range of potential problems that may arise in conducting focus groups, and strategies for managing them. Data handling, including transcription and analysis will also be discussed.

PhD Researcher Feedback 2018

  • Jackie is an inspiring and engaging speaker – this workshop was highly relevant and incredibly useful.

  • The facilitator was really knowledgeable and her personal experience in relation to conducting focus groups was really interesting to know.  Thanks again.


  • Dr Jackie Reilly

    Dr Jackie Reilly is currently Head of the Doctoral College for Jordanstown and Belfast. Before joining Ulster in 2002, she was a lecturer in Psychology at Queen’s University where she first developed an interest in and involvement with PhD education and has supervised research students to successful completion in both Psychology and Education, including several international PhD researchers. Prior to her appointment to the Doctoral College in June 2017, as well as being a Senior Lecturer in Education Jackie was Head of the Research Graduate School in the Faculty of Social Sciences for over a decade. Jackie has a PhD In Psychology (QUB), PGCHET (QUB) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

The Vitae Researcher Development Framework

This session maps on to Domain A of the Vitae Framework: Knowledge and intellectual abilities which includes the sub-domain areas of:

  • A1: Knowledge base
  • A2: Cognitive abilities
  • A3: Creativity
The Vitae Researcher Development Framework