Housing Studies Association annual conference 2014

  • Kim McKee (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


    Reflections on the use of online focus groups in housing research (paper with Tom Moore)

    This paper considers the use of online qualitative research methods to explore young people’s views on housing opportunities and family resources. The technological advances of the Web 2.0 era, where users increasingly interact and collaborate with each other in a variety of online settings, have sparked methodological interest and innovation amongst qualitative researchers in recent years. This includes the use of online focus groups involving live, synchronous chat room interactions. Online focus groups are designed to overcome traditional temporal and spatial barriers to qualitative research, allowing researchers to recruit participants more quickly, to overcome issues of geography and participant access, and to facilitate the production of knowledge in dynamic settings over shorter periods of time. However, to date there has been little insight into the applicability of online focus groups to studies of housing and youth. Reflecting on a study of young people’s housing opportunities and financial welfare in the UK, this paper considers the advantages, ethical implications, and dilemmas associated with the use of online qualitative methodologies. While online focus groups are attractive for researchers and participants in overcoming issues of time, space, and cost, their use in housing research also requires significant reflexivity as to the role of the researcher, the levels of participant involvement, and the reliance on text-based interaction that eliminates the influence of non-verbal cues. In doing so we argue that online methodologies offer significant advantages, especially in longer-term studies that cross time and space, but that their design and implementation also has implications for the quality and insight of the knowledge produced.

    Period16 Apr 2014
    Event titleHousing Studies Association annual conference 2014
    Event typeConference
    LocationYork, United KingdomShow on map


    • housing
    • young people
    • online research
    • focus groups