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Use of a Focus Group to Understand Postgraduate Students' Perceptions of Alcohol Use

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Purpose
The purpose of this exercise was to discover how students perceive the use of alcohol, focusing on the differences between their countries of origin and Scotland. The particular theme was selected, because since I moved in Edinburgh, I noticed that alcohol consumption is one of the usual subjects of discussion among international students. I observed that this is an issue, which troubles many non-UK students. More specifically, every time I was in the company of young people from different countries, we used to discuss about the differences we notice regarding the way that Scottish people entertain themselves, the important role that alcohol holds in their lives and what differences they observe in comparison to their countries. Furthermore, alcohol consumption is a part of a county’s culture; so whether people drink or not, the way that they see alcohol and their ways of entertainment can reveal and help us to explore the culture, customs, habits and the way of thinking of different people from different countries.

Why focus group?
The reason why I chose focus group as method of my study was because I didn’t want just some information about their counties or their experiences and their beliefs about alcohol consumption in Scotland. Instead the most important and essential features of the study, that I wanted to accomplish, were the creation of data from the participants, their selves, through their interaction. It was very essential to see how they exchange their background habits and their views about a new, different country. What is more, I wanted to observe what kind of associations they will use to talk about their countries, and how they will link their culture with the others and the Scottish, with no Scotti...


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.... Focus Groups in Social Research, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications
Bryman A., (2012). Social Research Methods, New York :Oxford University Press Inc.
Greenbaum T. L., (2000), Moderating Focus Groups, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications
Kitzinger J., (1995), Qualitative Research: Introducing focus groups, BMJ , 311: 299-302
Morgan D., (1993), Successful Focus Groups: Advancing the State of the Art, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications
Morgan D., (1997). Focus Groups as qualititative research, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications
Smith M. W., (1995). Ethics in focus groups: A few concerns, Qualitative Health Research, Vol 5, No 4, pp 478-486, Sage Publications, Inc.
Stewart D. W., & Shamdasani P. N., (1990), Focus Groups: Theory and Practice, London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE Publications



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