Telephone focus groups in physiotherapy research: potential uses and recommendations
Publish Date: Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Smith, J. M., Sullivan, S. J., & Baxter, G. D.

Publication: Journal article - Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 25(4), 241-256.

The use of telephone focus groups as a research approach within health-related qualitative studies is emerging as a method of choice for some researchers. A variety of research applications of the telephone focus group method have been used within health settings over the last 10 years and have typically investigated specific health conditions, training needs, and resource development, as well as health practices and knowledge; these are all issues and contexts applicable to physiotherapy and rehabilitation research. The aim of this review is to explore the use of the telephone focus group methodology, update knowledge on its use in disciplines relevant to physiotherapy, and provide potential users with key information to conduct a telephone focus group. We advocate incorporating recent advances in telephone technology into focus group methodology for physiotherapy and rehabilitation studies, which may benefit from wider geographical representation, increased participation rates, and discussion of sensitive issues. We suggest that the telephone focus group could become a practical and valuable methodology for physiotherapy and rehabilitation researchers.