Using Creative Approaches and Facilitating Remote Online Focus Groups With Children and Young People: Reflections, Recommendations and Practical Guidance

Alexandra Hennessey*, Ola Demkowicz, Kirsty Pert, Carla Mason, Lucy Bray, Emma Ashworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The importance of engaging and involving children and young people (CYP) in research is widely recognised, especially for educational research exploring CYP’s perceptions and experiences of school processes. Historically, working with CYP to collect qualitative data has involved face-to-face interactions, however the social distancing requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic meant there was a need to move ‘online’ and work ‘remotely’. In this paper we share our experiences of undertaking remote online synchronous focus groups with CYP and discuss how we overcame the challenges associated with conducting qualitative research with CYP ‘from a distance’. We used remote online synchronous focus groups to explore CYP’s perspectives on how education settings can support social, emotional, and mental wellbeing. We reflect on approaches used to uphold rigour and quality, and work ethically and sensitively. We have organised this into five topics reflecting distinct parts of the planning, design and practice: 1) working with CYP as research advisors to shape the design, feasibility and suitability of the methods and approach; 2) developing creative approaches within the online focus groups to increase engagement and inclusion; 3) considering logistical and technical practice; 4) considering ethical practice underpinning online group data collection with CYP; and 5) valuing participation and disseminate findings when working from a distance with participants. We present reflections and guidance for other researchers considering the use of remote online synchronous focus groups with CYP, as a feasible and valuable means for collecting data in both a time- and cost-effective manner.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Volume21
Early online date21 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Regular Article
  • schools
  • mental health
  • wellbeing
  • children and young people
  • focus groups
  • qualitative methodology
  • online research methods
  • videoconferencing

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