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An Overview of a Mobile Focus Group Method for Investigating Space and Place

Case
By: Andrew Clark Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Sociology
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Abstract

This case study outlines the development and implementation of a mobile focus group technique. Ostensibly, this is a blending of various aspects of conventional focus group and mobile interview methods. The technique was developed as one of a suite of methods used to evaluate a series of national-level interventions to promote the active inclusion and participation of young people in the quasi-formal development of, and day-to-day activities within, a variety of deprived, predominantly urban neighborhoods in the United Kingdom. The method involved a group of young people leading researchers (and evaluators) on a guided tour of their neighborhood. From the outset, the aim is to place participants in charge of where to go, and where not to go, and what to reveal and (perhaps) what to keep hidden. So, the young people adopt the role of local tour guides or experts, “showing” their neighborhood to an “interested stranger.” The case study outlines the rationale for developing the approach, presents a step-by-step account of how the approach was deployed, and details the practical considerations and challenges researchers may face when using the approach. The case study concludes by considering how the mobile and interactional dimensions of the method might recreate authentic ways in which local places are produced and experienced.

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