Stepping Beyond Transcripts: A Framework for Analyzing Interaction in Focus Groups

Helen Nicholson*, Philip Shrives

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interaction is a much-claimed attribute of focus group research yet is often deficient in analysis when its essence can become lost. In this paper we aim to develop a flexible framework that can be operationalized and replicated when attempting to encourage and capture interaction. Working as outsider researchers with John Lewis & Partners (the UK’s largest employee-owned business, with 80,000 employees known as “Partners”), we conducted eight focus groups asking 18 questions about the company’s giving activities and associated decision making. Using the transcriptions, we analyzed interaction through a taxonomy of questions, laughs, and pauses, identified as the features of both interaction, and sequential interaction. Employing a two-stage approach for encouraging, capturing, and evidencing interaction, we developed an exploratory framework. Through a transparent audit trail, we reduced the data to points of impact. We propose that these present a meaningful starting position for the theorizing iteration of the data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Nov 2022


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