Here I am. Finally back from my holidays. Refreshed and `restored` (and relaxed and a little tanned too) ready to begin with impetus this new year. Actually I am still at the end of my first year of PhD (the second won`t luckily begin until the beginning of October), but since I`ve been at school (and that means 20 years ago!!!) I`ve always consider September the beginning of the New Year. New list of to do things, new list of wishes, new list of `This year everything is going to change because …`
All the three list are already filling out with loads of things: reading lot of books in English, watching a lot of movies in English in order to improve my listening skills, talking a lot more with people( J!!) to improve my speaking skills, going to an English writing class to improve my grammar and my writing style, becoming perfectly confident with qualitative research methods, finding a better balance between study, work and personal life, etc. etc. I think I can go on with this FOR EVER!
Anyway, back in the UK and @DMU, I had two wonderful days of training with Liz Spencer about how to conduct and analyse focus group. Liz is a wonderful lady, nice and brilliant; she is a Research Associate of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. She is a real specialist in qualitative research methods, having an experience of over thirty years, and listening and talking to her have been an enriching and pleasant experience. Focus group is an extremely popular qualitative research method, but it is really tricky and it is essential to understand how to effectively and correctly conduct focus groups, because they can easily go in the wrong direction.
I am not already sure that focus groups will be my research methodology, but having a training on them has been really useful in understanding pros and contras and therefore it will be useful in deciding the better method to apply to my research.
Luckily Leicester has been warmly welcoming me with some days of sun and warm temperature. And yesterday it offered me a wonderful rainbow too!
A post about my Green holydays will also come in the next weeks. I went cycling from Germany to Hungary, passing through Austria and Slovak. 710 km on the bike… It has been a real adventure and I can`t wait sharing it with you!
Back soon! Ciao!
If someone would like to go into more depth about focus group here there are some recommended reading: Barbour, R. (2008) Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student Guide to the Craft of Doing Qualitative Research London: Sage. Chapter 6 Bloor, M., Frankland, J., Thomas M., and Robson, K. (2001) Focus Groups in Social Research London: Sage Finch, H., and Lewis, J. (2003) ‘Focus Groups’, in Ritchie, J., and Lewis, J. Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage Kreuger, R.A. and Casey, M. A. (2009) Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research (4th Edition). Thousand Oaks: Sage Morgan, D. (1997) Focus Groups as Qualitative Research Thousand Oaks: Sage Stewart. D.W., Shamdasani, P. M. and Rook, D.W. (2007). Focus Groups: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage