Focus groups and online disscusions

You all might know, I’m planning to have focus group discussions face to face. Family caregivers and people living with dementia are invited to discuss surveillance technologies. Further, I am planning to have additional discussions online. As such, there are a lot of things to consider.

For some it is easier to have a discussion face to face. For example, discussions can make it easier and more accessible for participants to get an understanding of their past or current experiences and to describe these (Krueger & Casey, 2014). By taking part in focus groups, individuals are able to think and process more deeply about their own thoughts. Other advantages are an increased quality of interaction, people are less pressured to response, and shared experiences trigger memory (Bamford & Bruce, 2000).

Yet, what about some people feeling intimated by others in discussion? or not feeling confident enough to state your opinion? Or just needing extra time to think about some arguments? In my opinion, online discussions are in this case very useful. The advantages of having online discussions are to find perspectives without any restrictions, due to internet’s ability to freely express anonymous opinions.


However, we do not know the background from the people who place comments online, and comments tend to be generalized to a certain population, or it only represents only those who are actively online (Hawkins, 2011). Besides, not everybody is the internet-guru or can express themselves clearly online. Cyber-stalker-via-Shutterstock-800x430

I was wondering, is there such a thing that combines best of both worlds? Where would people with dementia and or family caregivers feel most confident to talk or discuss certain topics? I guess, this all depends on the individual and topic right?

Food for thought…


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