Critical social research in information systems has been gaining prominence for some time and is

increasingly viewed as a valid research approach. One problem of the critical tradition is that there is

a lack of empirical research. A contributing factor to this gap in the literature is the lack of agreement

on what constitutes appropriate methodologies for critical research. The present paper contributes to

this debate by outlining the role that focus group research can play in the critical approach. The

paper outlines the main characteristics of critical research with an emphasis on its emancipatory

faculties. It then goes on to review the focus group method in general and gives an account of two

research projects that used focus groups as a method of data collection. It is argued that focus groups

can contribute to emancipation of researchers as well as respondents. This argument is built upon the

critical theories of the two most prominent theorists currently relied upon in critical social IS

research, namely Jürgen Habermas and Michel Foucault. Focus groups can improve communication

and move real discourses closer to the Habermas's ideas speech situation. At the same time, they can

contribute to the challenging of prevailing orthodoxy and thereby overcome established regimes of

truth in the Foucauldian tradition. The paper ends with a critical reflection of the shortcomings of

focus groups as a critical method and of the specific approach chosen in this paper.