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Abstract

Focus groups to investigate new ideas are widely used in many research fields. The use of focus groups in design research poses interesting opportunities and challenges. Traditional focus group methods must be adapted to meet two specific goals of design research. For the refinement of an artifact design, exploratory focus groups (EFGs) study the artifact to propose improvements in the design. The cycle of build and evaluate using EFGs continues until the artifact is released for field test in the application environment. Then, the field test of the design artifact may employ confirmatory focus groups (CFGs) to establish the utility of the artifact in field use. Rigorous investigation of the artifact requires multiple CFGs to be run with opportunities for quantitative and qualitative data collection and analyses across the multiple CFGs. In this paper, we discuss the adaptation of focus groups to design research projects. We demonstrate the use of both EFGs and CFGs in a design research project in the health care field.

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