The use of self moderated focus groups to gather exploratory data on information beliefs and their impact on information seeking behaviour.
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MARCELLA, R. 2018. The use of self moderated focus groups to gather exploratory data on information beliefs and their impact on information seeking behaviour. Library and information science research [online], 40(1), pages 45-52. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2018.04.004
The existence of an information belief system is tested for the first time through innovative use of self moderated focus groups. Initial generation of information beliefs was achieved in an open, unpredicted and unbiased way through focus groups. To remove researcher effect and promote informality in discussion, the researcher experimented with a novel approach - self moderated focus groups. A detailed study of 5 groups evaluates their effectiveness in encouraging free and spontaneous discussion and in eliciting unique information ideas or beliefs. Results show that self moderated focus groups encourage naturalistic discourse, take unpredictable directions and are fertile in uncovering unexpected beliefs. Disadvantages include lack of consistency and leader mirroring, with members adopting the style and tone of volunteer moderators. Consideration should be given to gender balance in group composition. The method is recommended where open and free flowing discussion is sought.