Practice abstract


British Dental Journal 204, 291 - 295 (2008)
Published online: 22 March 2008 | doi:10.1038/bdj.2008.192

Subject Categories: Communication skills | Scientific publishing

Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups

P. Gill1, K. Stewart2, E. Treasure3 & B. Chadwick4

  • Interviews and focus groups are the most common methods of data collection used in qualitative healthcare research
  • Interviews can be used to explore the views, experiences, beliefs and motivations of individual participants
  • Focus group use group dynamics to generate qualitative data

Qualitative research in dentistry

  1. Qualitative research in dentistry
  2. Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups
  3. Conducting qualitative interviews with school children in dental research
  4. Analysing and presenting qualitative data


This paper explores the most common methods of data collection used in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. The paper examines each method in detail, focusing on how they work in practice, when their use is appropriate and what they can offer dentistry. Examples of empirical studies that have used interviews or focus groups are also provided.

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  1. Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL
  2. Research Fellow, Academic Unit of Primary Care, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 2AA
  3. Dean and Professor of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Dental Health and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY
  4. Professor of Paediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Dental Health and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY

Correspondence to: P. Gill1 e-mail: PWGill@glam.ac.uk



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