Reflecting on asynchronous internet mediated focus groups for researching culturally sensitive issues

Noirin MacNamara, Danielle Mackle, Johanne Devlin Trew, Claire Pierson, Fiona K. Bloomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Internet-mediated focus groups (FGs) have become a feature of qualitative research over the last decade; however, their use within social sciences has been adopted at a slower pace than other disciplines. This paper considers the advantages and disadvantages of internet-mediated FGs and reflects on their use for researching culturally sensitive issues. It reports on an innovative study, which utilised text-based asynchronous internet-mediated FGs to explore attitudes to abortion, and abortion as a workplace issue. The authors identify three key elements of text-based asynchronous online FGs as particularly helpful in researching culturally sensitive issues – safety, time and pace. The authors demonstrate how these elements, integral to the actual process, contributed to ‘opinion change/evolution’ and challenged processes of stigmatisation centred on over-simplification, misinformation as to the incidence of a culturally sensitive issue in a population, and discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Abortion
  • online focus groups
  • qualitative methods
  • sensitive research


Dive into the research topics of 'Reflecting on asynchronous internet mediated focus groups for researching culturally sensitive issues'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this