Author(s): Heary CM, Hennessy E
OBJECTIVE: To review and synethize the research material on focus groups with children and adolescents and to provide guidelines for future development. METHODS: Psychlit, Medline, and Cinahl electronic databases, as well as the reference lists of those articles consulted, were reviewed for information regarding focus groups with participants under the age of 18 years. Both empirical and methodological articles were part of this review. RESULTS: We review the utility of focus groups for exploratory research, program evaluation, program development, and questionnaire construction or adaptation. Based on previous research, we provide guidelines for focus groups with children and adolescents and outline suggestions for future development. CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence to suggest that focus groups are a valuable means of eliciting children's views on health-related matters, given an appropriate research question. However, empirical research is required in order to investigate systematically the effect of different processes and variables on the final outcome of focus group interviews.