Conducting focus group research in a design science project


P. Brandtner, M. Helfert, A. Auinger, K. Gaubinger - Conducting focus group research in a design science project - Systems, Signs & Actions, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2015, pp. 26-55


Focus groups are a popular qualitative research method often applied to different areas of such as in medical research. The aim of this research paper is to apply and test the focus group procedure by Tremblay et al. in the setting of a current design science study on the Front End of Innovatio n. The main results of the current paper are an empirical testing of the Tremblay et al. method and proposed modifications of this method based on said testing. These results confirm that focus groups, conducted in compliance with said method, can be of great use in design science projects to support refining and evaluating artifacts. The results obtained in such manner can provide essential contributions to the knowledge base. The findings also indicate that the approach by Tremblay et al. does not address particular research-setting spe- cific factors, such as the right timing when to actually conduct the focus group, the back- ground of an organization, the contextual influences in participant selection process or the definition of an appropriate setting for the focus group study. The current paper addresses the strengths as well as the shortcomings detected in the current setting and proposes modifications to the Tremblay method.