Using Microsoft Teams to Facilitate Asynchronous Online Focus Groups

T. Kody Frey, Beth Strickland Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges to researchers engaged in qualitative research. Such methods often require the use of in-person methods of data collection and were greatly interrupted during this time of global emergency. Yet, navigating this altered terrain presented opportunities to reflect on the traditional methodological landscape. In this paper, we reflect on the use of Microsoft Teams to facilitate multiple asynchronous online focus groups. We draw on the findings from a study of researchers focused on translational medicine, who work in disparate locations and often have conflicting schedules, to show how the use of this approach facilitated active communication between individuals who otherwise rarely interact. Specifically, we reflect on five ways that Microsoft Teams both enhanced and challenged traditional focus group practice. We consider how (1) conversational sequence, (2) discussion moderation, (3) nonverbal cues, (4) supporting information, and (5) technical competencies relate to using this approach. This results in several reflections intended to help future researchers prepare to facilitate asynchronous online focus groups using Teams. Specifically, we highlight our experiences in terms of participant interaction, iterative reflections, and data management. Ultimately, we argue that this approach adds an important and powerful tool to the qualitative methodological toolkit.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
StatePublished - Oct 30 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This paper is a product of a Research and Creative Activities grant provided by the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • best practices
  • COVID-19
  • focus groups
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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