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Last updated: May 13, 2019

Distinctive features and differences between survey and focus group approaches in social research.Summing up all results of the conducted research using the  focus groups and surveys approaches, it is necessary to outline some of the advantages and shortcomings of both methods.

The main advantage of surveys is their wide coverage and the ability to gather the necessary information from large number of respondents. This method do not require large financial costs.  Nevertheless, in the above study there were difficulties in understanding and correct interpretation of some questions in the questionnaire. As the majority of respondents did not understand the issues related to the content of households, they could simply choose one of the options provided in “closed” questions. And this, in turn, influenced the reliability of information in the process of data analysis. Lack of data was another shortcoming in household surveys .

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Since the questionnaire contained few “open” questions, to which participants had to state their answers, they were omitted by respondents due to the  insufficient literacy of population. This negatively affected the validity of the obtained data.Dissimilar the surveys method, in the second study there were no problems with reliability and validity of the data obtained. Questions of interest to the researcher were presented to participants in the focus group discussions, where they were able to give their own ideas and provide specific information on a given issue.  Moreover, the opportunity to ask participants to explain their motivations can be pointed out as an additional advantage of focus groups. Unlike, in the second research due to the insignificant sample size, generalisability was weak. In contrast, research conducted by survey allowed to generalise the findings.Summerising, these examples demonstrate the ability of focus groups and surveys to provide asymmetric, and  at the same time independent observations that enhance the ability to draw conclusions, including confidence in the very nature of the findings themselves.


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