The Focus Group Method in Practical Ecclesiology: Performative Effects and Ecclesiological Rationale

in Ecclesial Practices
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The author gives an analysis of the methodological advantages and disadvantages of using focus groups in practical ecclesiology. He makes a plea for including focus groups in a mixed method strategy in practical ecclesiological research, being attentive to their performative effects. He asks, if ecclesiology governs the methodological design of a practical-ecclesiological research project, should not methods that focus on conversational practices and how people build up a view out of the interaction that takes place within a group, be pulled into the heart of the research? In his reply to this question, the article gives a relational-constructionist, an ecclesiological and a theological rationale for using focus groups.

Ecclesial Practices

Journal of Ecclesiology and Ethnography

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References

1

J. Sim, ‘Collecting and analyzing qualitative data: issues raised by the focus group’, Journal of Advanced Nursing (1998), 28, pp. 345–352, at p. 346.

2

 See Clare Watkins, ‘Practicing Ecclesiology: from product to process. The theological action research framework of theology in four voices, and the development of ecclesiology as a non-correlative process and practice’, Ecclesial Practices. Journal of Ecclesiology and Ethnography 2/1 (2015), pp. 23–39, at p. 36.

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Gomm, p. 172.

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Berg, p. 146.

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Wellington and Szczerbinski, p. 90.

19

Bente Halkier, ‘Focus groups as social enactments: integrating interaction and content in the analysis of focus group data’, Qualitative Research 10/1 (2010), pp. 71–89. Also see M. Grønkjær, T. Curtis, C. de Crespigny and C. Delmar, ‘Analyzing group interaction in focus group research: Impact on content and the role of the moderator’, Qualitative Studies 2/1 (2010), pp. 16–30.

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Boeije, p. 65.

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Hennink, p. 5.

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Gomm, p. 171.

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Jenny Kitzinger, ‘The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interaction between research participants’, Sociology of Health and Illness 16/1 (1994), pp. 103–121, at p. 105.

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Grønkjær et al., p. 24.

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Hennink, p. 9.

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 See Harald Hegstad, The Real Church. An Ecclesiology of the Visible (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2013).

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Henk de Roest, Communicative Identity. Habermas’ Perspectives of Discourse as a Support for Practical Theology (Kampen: Kok, 1998), pp. 219ff.

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Bryman, p. 480.

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Hosking, p. 12.

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Bouwen and Hovelynck, p. 128.

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Bouwen and Hovelynck, p. 130.

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Bouwen and Hovelynck, p. 138.

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Dian Marie Hosking, ‘Telling tales of relations: Appreciating relational constructionism’, Organization Studies 32/1 (2011), 47–65, at p. 55.

76

Kitzinger, p. 111.

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Cameron, p. 156.

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