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Myths About Focus Groups > Focus Groups Are Not for Sensitive Topics

Renderas:sect3. Focus Groups Are Not for Sensitive Topics

Actually, focus groups are commonly used in projects related to sexual behavior, substance abuse, and stressful life events. This myth seems to be based on common sense conceptions of what people are willing to discuss in a group setting. The obvious idea is that people will not talk about private matters or taboo topics in front of others. This might be true in a conversation around the dinner table or at a meeting of an ongoing community organization, but focus groups are an unusual group setting.

Consider the fact that an interviewer is encouraging everyone in the group to share thoughts and experiences about a topic that interests all of them. Furthermore, the risk of consequences to what participants say is limited because they are talking with strangers they will never meet again. This kind of group actually encourages people to say things they might ordinarily keep private.


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