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International Journal of Qualitative Methods ; : 1-8, 2023.
Article in English | Academic Search Complete | ID: covidwho-20233372


In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many research projects were forced to adapt their design and conduct interviews online. This paper discusses the benefits and challenges of using online focus groups with participants representing different generations and cultural and social backgrounds. Based on the researchers' experiences and field notes from a three-country comparative project, aiming at analysing the extent to which previous experience of state surveillance impacted attitudes to commercial monitoring and tracking of online behaviour among two generational cohorts, the paper identifies seven aspects where the move from offline to online interviewing interfered with the original research design. The paper suggests that most of these interferences resulted in a need to adjust the methodology to better fit the online setting. We reflect critically upon the issues of technological preconditions and digital skills, recruitment, group size, degrees of previous acquaintance, the role of the interviewer, participants' household status and media environment, and ethical considerations concerning privacy and data management. Based on these methodological insights, we conclude that future online focus group research would benefit from using smaller groups and adjusted moderation, flexibility in interviewing tools and channels, and new, online-specific ethical considerations when planning, executing, and analysing interviews. The paper advocates the complementarity between in-person and online focus groups as two modalities of data collection and argues for the normalization of hybrid methods. [ FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of International Journal of Qualitative Methods is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full . (Copyright applies to all s.)