Focus Group Methods and Role-Playing Games: Potential and Limitations for Socially Sensitive Research

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Artur Holavin


The text discusses existing limits to the use of focus group methods, especially when it comes to sensitive research topics. Based on my experience of participation in an international research project on sexual bullying, i point out the issues of distrust, conformism promoting group dynamics, and the limits of post hoc “rationalized” discourses among focus group subjects. Drawing upon my experience of nonformal educational “learning by doing” projects, i propose the use of role-playing and simulation elements as supplementary methods to tackle the above-mentioned issues. In conclusion, i summarize possible methodological advantages of the use of role-play elements in qualitative sociological research, as well as some possible epistemological limits of the method. In russian.


Role-Playing Games, Focus Groups, Sexual Bullying

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