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.
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 Ethnography2/1 (2015), pp. 23–39, at p. 36.
Bente Halkier, ‘Focus groups as social enactments: integrating interaction and content in the analysis of focus group data’, Qualitative Research10/1 (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.
Marian Pitts and Anthony Smith, Researching the Margins. Strategies for Ethical and Rigorous Research with Marginalized Communities (Houndmills, Basingstoke / New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), p. 140.