Online focus groups as a tool to study policy professionals

Joost Berkhout, Michele Crepaz, Marcel Hanegraaff, Wiebke Marie Junk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars interested in political elites and policy professionals only sporadically rely on focus group methods. In this article, we argue why this is a missed opportunity. Based on our own recent research experience, we suggest three innovations to the focus group method that should make it appealing for political scientists who study professionals active in the policy process. First, focus groups allow for the study of the interactions between political elites in ways other methods cannot. Second, the method can be used for hypothesis testing when focus groups are designed accordingly. Third, the option to conduct focus groups online has major advantages in terms of participant costs, ease of recruitment, and, potentially, research equity. We hope that our suggestions are useful for researchers wanting to build on any one—or all—of these innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalResearch and Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 03 Nov 2023

Cite this