Developing an interpretative phenomenological approach to focus group data

Michelle Palmer, Michael Larkin*, Richard de Visser, Gráinne Fadden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is an approach to qualitative research that is now well-established in British psychology. This approach is concerned with understanding people's experiences of the world and of themselves. The aims of IPA studies have been met most frequently through the use of one-on-one interviews. Relatively few studies have used focus group discussions as the basis for IPA studies, but focus groups may provide rich experiential data. In this article, we describe a process for integrating focus group data into an IPA study. We developed this during a study of the experiences of carers of people with mental health problems. Here we outline the various steps of our analytic process and discuss how these might be employed and adapted by other researchers wishing to apply IPA's concern with personal experience to the analysis of focus group data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-121
Number of pages23
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Experiential
  • Group discussions
  • Group interviews
  • IPA
  • Positionality


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