Data collection by multi-location, longitudinal focus group: an application in library and information science research

Leo Appleton

Dr Leo Appleton

I have recently published a new paper on research methods in Library and Information Science (LIS) research with Dr Leo Appleton of the Information School at Sheffield University.

This work is concerned with the data collection phase of Leo‘s part-time doctoral study completed in 2020 within the Centre for Social Informatics.  For this, Leo deployed a novel multi-location longitudinal focus group method. Fifty-three participants took part in three rounds of focus group meetings in eight public library authorities in England and Scotland over a period of three years.

The collection of data in this manner offered several advantages for the assembly of a rich data set for qualitative analysis. In particular, the revisiting of project themes on three occasions supported an increase in the level of sophistication and depth of discussion amongst the study participants. This allowed for a detailed exploration of the role of the public library as public sphere (as discussed in our forthcoming paper in the Journal of Documentation). The main drawback of the approach was participant attrition.

The citation for this paper is:

Appleton, L. & Hall, H. (2022). Using a multi-location, longitudinal focus group method to conduct qualitative research into the role of public librariesQualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 11(1), 83-92.

The full text is now freely available in PDF format from the publisher, and from the Edinburgh Napier repository.

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