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Computers, Focus group, Research





Over the past 20 years, focus groups have become increasingly popular with nursing researchers as a data collection method, as has the use of computer-based technologies to support all forms of nursing research. This article describes the conduct of a series of focus groups in which the participants were in the same room as part of a "real-time" discussion during which they also used personal computers as an interface between each other and the moderator. Synchronous Computer Mediated Group Discussion differed from other forms of focus group discussion in that participants used personal computers rather than verbal expressions to respond to specific questions, engage in communication with other participants, and to record their thoughts. This form of focus group maintained many of the features of spoken exchanges, a cornerstone of the focus group, while capturing the advantages of online discussion.