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There is evidence that focus groups are useful to explore issues with socially marginalized groups, notably when participants have shared particular experiences. Focus groups have the methodological potential to highlight group norms and processes, and to illuminate the social and cultural contexts in which individual agency takes place. However, an often cited concern about focus groups is researchers’ inadequate description of the analytical process which then affects the usefulness and credibility of the findings and rigor in analysis. In this article we address this concern and offer an analytical framework which takes account of the content (themes) and form (structure) of focus group data. Framed within an interpretivist paradigm, our analysis is driven by a theoretical interest in how race/ethnicity as social positions shape young British Somali men’s individual and shared experiences of policing in London.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Optimising Rigor in Focus Group Analysis

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 93

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Anya Ahmed PhD is Professor of Social Science and Head of Social Policy at the University of Salford, UK. Dr Muzammil Quraishi PhD is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Salford, UK. Asha Abdillahi BA MA is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Salford. She led the fieldwork for the Open Society Foundations ‘Somalis in London’ study.