Webinar - Conducting focus groups using digital platforms

12 May 2021


Wednesday 12th May, 10.00-11.30am

Online - Zoom link sent upon registration

Register for this webinar on Eventbrite.

About this event

Following the success of our previous workshops, the ARC North Thames Early Career Researchers network is hosting an exciting new workshop, as the final instalment of our 'Adapting qualitative research’ series. Workshop three will explore the opportunities and challenges of conducting focus groups using digital platforms.

The pandemic has made face-to-face research difficult, if not impossible, for many qualitative researchers. Rising to the challenge, there has been a blossoming of innovation in methodologies for conducting qualitative research remotely. In this series, we explore opportunities for adapting qualitative methods for remote data collection and reflect on lessons learnt during the pandemic.

This session is designed to be interactive, with two invited guest speakers, and opportunities to discuss your own challenges and experiences with other participants in small groups. This event is aimed at early career researchers designing (or redesigning) studies using remote social research methods. Attendance will be limited to forty participants so we recommend booking your place well in advance.

Over the past year online focus groups have become the new ‘normal’. This workshop will explore the speakers experiences of carrying out focus groups using a range of digital platforms.

Dr Holly Walton
(UCL) will discuss lessons learnt from conducting virtual focus groups in the CoordiNated Care Of Rare Diseases (CONCORD) study.

Anna Colom (The Open University) will discuss her experience of using WhatsApp to conduct a focus group as part of a digital ethnography with young activists in Western Kenya.

Following this there will be time to ask the speakers questions during a facilitated Q&A. Finally, participants will break into small groups to discuss possibilities for adapting or designing remote focus groups. Papers related to the authors work will be shared with participants before the session.

Please email arc.academy@ucl.ac.uk if you have any queries.


Speaker bios

Holly Walton - University College London
Dr Holly Walton is a research fellow in the Department of Applied Health Research at University College London. Dr Holly Walton graduated with a BSc Psychology (Nottingham Trent University, 2014), MSc Health Psychology (University College London, 2015) and a PhD in Health Psychology (University College London, 2018). Holly’s research interests include: implementation of complex interventions and health care services (in particular delivery and engagement), care coordination and behaviour change.

Anna Colom - The Open University
Anna Colom is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and International Studies at The Open University. Her research applies a feminist intersectional approach to exploring how mobile technologies, in particular access and use of WhatsApp, mediates the citizenship capabilities of young women in Western Kenya. This research seeks to contribute to conceptualising citizenship in a postcolonial context and to a critical understanding of the transformational role of mobile technologies for young people experiencing multiple and overlapping oppression.

Prior to the PhD at The Open University, Anna worked for BBC Media Action as a Senior Research Manager, designing and conducting research to inform and evaluate the role of media and communication in social change across countries in Africa and Asia. She has also worked as a researcher for the London School of Economics and Political Science and consult for a number of international organisations. Anna completed an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her dissertation explored how community video enhances the political capabilities of oppressed communities through a Freirean dialogical process. She also holds a degree in Journalism from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She is a trained Participatory Video facilitator and a documentary filmmaker.