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Conducting interviews or focus groups poses numerous challenges, not least because they are reliant on the interaction between the researcher and the respondent(s). Interviews, which can be conducted over the phone or face-to-face, can yield vast amounts of useful data, but can also divert easily away from the topic. Therefore, both focus groups and individual depth interviews rely on the skill of the interviewer.
To ensure that interviews relate to the research, it is important to develop a discussion guide and prompt the respondent when necessary. Focus groups have an additional challenge as they involve interaction between multiple respondents, and rely on group dynamics. Such groups need to be appropriately recruited for and monitored effectively. CIPFA Research has experience of recruitment as well as conducting both interviews and focus groups for a variety of organisations.
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