Focus group methodology in a life course approach – individual accounts within a peer cohort group

Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Uracha, Smithson, Janet and Lewis, Suzan ORCID logoORCID: (2014) Focus group methodology in a life course approach – individual accounts within a peer cohort group. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 17 (2) . pp. 157-171. ISSN 1364-5579 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13645579.2014.892657)

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This paper explores the use of focus group methodology as part of a life course approach building on Julia Brannen’s pioneering work in these two areas. Much life course research uses individual interviews, including biographical interview techniques. It is less usual to find focus groups used within the life course perspective. This paper draws on a PhD study of young British and Asian adults’ experiences of the transition from university to full-time employment, using focus groups as part of a multi-method approach, within a life course perspective. The study drew explicitly on Julia Brannen’s approach to life course transitions. Three focus group excerpts are presented and discussed to illustrate how focus group data can further the understanding of the ways in which a group of peers discuss the transition to work and especially future work–life balance. We show how focus group discussions about individual choice for future work and ‘life’ or ‘lifestyle’ can highlight shared assumptions of this birth cohort group as well as areas of disagreement and contention, rooted in both individual experiences and societal and socio-cultural expectations. We relate this to Julia Brannen’s conceptualisation of the three different modalities which young people draw on to talk about the future.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Celebration of Julia Brannen’s Contribution to Research Methods
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Diversity and Gender group
Item ID: 14524
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Social Research Methodology on 20/03/2014, available online:
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Depositing User: Dr Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2015 14:05
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 23:47

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