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    Reflecting on the use of IPA with focus groups: pitfalls and potentials

    Eatough, Virginia and Tomkins, L. (2010) Reflecting on the use of IPA with focus groups: pitfalls and potentials. Qualitative Research in Psychology 7 (3), pp. 244-262. ISSN 1478-0887.

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    Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is a phenomenological, hermeneutic method for analysing semi-structured interview data, supported by a robust theoretical foundation and detailed practical procedures. The use of IPA with focus group data does not yet have the same status, and it should not be assumed that either theory or practice can remain unchanged when applied to focus groups. Two core features of IPA are discussed and problematized in the context of focus group work: the negotiation of part-whole relationships and the management of the interplay between real-time discursive and post-hoc thematic sense-making. With both these issues, practical solutions are offered from our own research on care. Although it is possible to adjust the IPA method for group data, there remain some profound theoretical and epistemological questions about whether the resultant focus on the group-individual dynamic and the discursive construction of experience represents too fundamental a shift from the idiographic and the psychological to be considered “true IPA.” However, working through these issues and attempting to move from either/ors to both/ands are seen as being true to the spirit of phenomenological enquiry.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): epistemology, focus groups, hermeneutics, idiography, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), part-whole relationships, thematic induction
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Virginia Eatough
    Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2014 07:02
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 06:36


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