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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. When to use focus groups; 2. Preparing for the focus groups; 3. Undertaking focus groups; 4. Analyzing focus groups and presenting the results; Conclusion.

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In highlighting the unique features of focus groups, Cyr explains how they can help social science researchers effectively answer certain research questions.

About the Author

Jennifer Cyr is Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. She published The Fates of Political Parties: Institutional Crisis, Continuity, and Change in Latin America (Cambridge, 2017), and has published in several journals, including Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, PS: Political Science and Politics, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Sociological Methods and Research. She is co-founder of the Southwest Workshop on Mixed Methods Research and co-editor of Qualitative and Multi-Method Research.


'Focus Groups for the Social Science Researcher by Jennifer Cyr articulates explicit, clear, and excellent suggestions on how to effectively use focus groups in social science research. It is likely to be the standard reference on this subject. In the future, whenever my students are considering using focus groups, I will direct them to this valuable work.' Scott Mainwairing, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, Harvard Kennedy School
'Focus groups constitute a core and essential methodology, particularly in field research settings. Cyr provides an in-depth analysis of the core uses of focus groups in survey construction, etc. In addition she treats the new and important uses of focus groups for multimethod research in its various forms. It comprehensively ranges from the research design to practical details.' Gary Goertz, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
'Cyr's book is a unique and significant contribution to qualitative social science methodology. Her analysis not only provides step-by-step guidance on how to organize and facilitate a focus group but highlights why a scholar might take on what can be a daunting set of logistical, ethical and analytic challenges. Cyr unpacks what is distinctive about the method and shows us how to maximize the analytic leverage provided by the social interactions of focus group discussions.' Lauren M. MacLean, Arthur F. Bentley Chair, Indiana University, Bloomington

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