Planning and recruiting the sample for focus groups and in-depth interviews

Qual Health Res. 2001 Jan;11(1):117-26. doi: 10.1177/104973201129118975.


In this article, the authors address the importance of sampling and recruiting for focus groups and in-depth interviews. They draw on a synthesis of the literature and their research experience and propose a three-stage checklist summarizing strategies that worked for them and addressed some of the problems described in the literature. The strategies proposed involve the three stages of prepare, contact, and follow-up. The prepare stage involves finding information sources and key contacts or champions, discovering related projects, and drafting alternative samples. The contact stage involves negotiation with key contacts and potential participants, confirmation, and plans for continued involvement. The follow-up stage involves feedback and continuing links in public events, action, and advocacy resulting from the research. The preparation and follow-up stages can require considerable time and resources, which, if not available within grants, can be provided through partnerships with community agencies or by seeking supplementary resources.

MeSH terms

  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Focus Groups*
  • Human Experimentation
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic*
  • Patient Selection
  • Planning Techniques
  • Sampling Studies