Special considerations in conducting bereavement focus groups

Sherylyn H. Briller, Stephanie Myers Schim, Kathleen L. Meert, Celia S. Thurston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Focus groups conducted with grieving people pose special challenges. However, this method can be successfully used in bereavement research especially when group interaction is central to the research aim. This article builds on key articles discussing ethical, methodological, logistical, and analytical issues in conducting focus groups with vulnerable populations (Owen, 2001; Seymour, Bellamy, Gott, Ahmedzai, & Clark, 2002). For bereaved people, vulnerability stems from heightened potential for harm by virtue of participation in sensitive, personal exploration of death-related experiences. We discuss reasons for selecting focus group methods and our experiences with planning and implementikg focus groups with bereaved people. Issues found to be bighly salient in our work include: team composition, participant recruitment, creating the environment, starting and ending the group, language and listening, managing emotional discussions and time, and analytic considerations. Recommendations are made for effectively sing focus groups to generate new knowledge in bereavement research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-271
Number of pages17
JournalOmega (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


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