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Inclusive digital focus groups – lessons from working with citizens with limited digital literacies

Carmi, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-1108-2075, Lockley, E. & Yates, S. (2023). Inclusive digital focus groups – lessons from working with citizens with limited digital literacies. In: Skopek, J. (Ed.), Research Handbook of Digital Sociology. (pp. 161-178). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. doi: 10.4337/9781789906769


While most research using online (video conferencing) focus groups take for granted people’s digital access and skills, in this chapter we consider work we undertook with people who have low digital literacy levels. We conducted the work during the COVID-19 pandemic and under social distancing regulations, shifting from a face-to-face workshop design to online focus groups. Our findings highlight the ways online focus groups can be successfully delivered when considering those with low digital literacy. Factors including smaller group sizes, joining remote sessions using individual devices, considering and categorising user types, pursuing follow-up questions, and providing contextual examples. These insights are useful for designing, developing, and conducting both ethical and considerate remote focus groups. We found that the literacy levels of your participants shape the way the session will run and that moving online adds another layer of complexity requiring constant adjustments and reflections. This work was part of our Nuffield Foundation funded project “Me and My Big Data: Developing Citizens Data Literacies” that was conducted between 2018-2021.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is a draft chapter. The final version is available in Research Handbook on Digital Sociology edited by Jan Skopek, published in 2023, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.
Publisher Keywords: Remote focus groups; digital literacies; Covid-19; methodology; ethics; wellbeing.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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