The use of focus group methodology--with selected examples from sexual health research

J Adv Nurs. 1999 Apr;29(4):905-13. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.00966.x.


This paper describes in detail the use of the focus group approach in research. The following issues are discussed: when, why and how focus group methods are used, their advantages and disadvantages and how data are analysed. Selected examples from four research studies on sexual health using this methodology are reported together with some of the problems experienced with their use. The importance of using focus groups in qualitative research is addressed and an argument is suggested for their more general use.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / ethnology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / nursing
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Focus Groups / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Nursing Methodology Research / methods*
  • Research Design
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Education / methods*
  • Sexual Behavior