Date(s) - 26/11/2020
09:00 - 11:30

Costas Papadopoulos


Organizer: Dr. Costas Papadopoulos

Costas Papadopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities and Culture Studies at Maastricht University. Costas’ research spans the development of virtual worlds to interpret societies of the past, to the application of computational imaging to analyse material culture, to the use of digital ethnographic methods to evaluate digital pedagogy and interactive teaching methods. Much of his scholarship focuses on heritage visualisation using a variety of 2D and 3D media for quantitative and qualitative studies. Another strand of his research involves understanding the affordances of mobile media in museum and classroom contexts and their role in the development of narratives and communication. More recently, his research has focused on the shift from the analogue to the digital, its affordances and limitations, as well as on new forms of social media, in which traditional research outputs are replaced by increasingly multimedial forms of born digital content. It explores the concept of ‘phygital’ (a melding of the physical and digital) in which new ways of engagement across different contexts and age groups, leverages technology to empower non-academic audiences with the tools and methods that experts use, moving them from end-users to content developers.

Workshop description:

Have you ever a purchased a product thinking that it was designed just for you? But how come the company that produced it, knew what you needed, what features you find attractive, and what functionalities would make your life easier? The answer is simple…They did market research. One way of doing market research is by asking people like you what their preferences are. Such research can be done in many ways, however, one of the most common methods, is by running Focus Groups. A focus group is a qualitative method based on small group interactive discussion that provides researchers in a range of academic fields, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, health, education, and communication with data that will help them to evaluate user requirements, define research problems, generate hypotheses, investigate attitudes, thoughts, and preferences, test early versions of services and products, and even figure out subconscious motivations behind certain choices or practices. Focus groups are behind almost anything you buy, see, or do. Hollywood, for example, runs test screenings to which random movie goers have to respond, thus determining the future of a production.

Focus groups, however, are not only about asking questions. In order to have a successful focus group you need to consider many parameters. For example, who are you going to invite? You need the right amount and type of people in order to get helpful responses. What questions are you going to ask? And what about people who may be reluctant to externalise their thoughts? What other activities could you organize to enable more creative ways for getting feedback? How are you going to deal with group dynamics? What are the research ethics that you need to consider?

Focus Groups are time consuming to design, difficult to moderate, and challenging to interpret. This workshop will provide you with all the necessary skills to plan and run your own focus groups, discussing common problems, challenges, and ethical dilemmas you may encounter.

What are the methodology and/or methods that the workshop will cover?

Due to the current restrictions in face to face teaching the workshop will be conducted via Zoom. Registered participants will be sent a link to join the Zoom room closer to the time. The workshop will take a hands-on approach to planning, organizing, and running a focus group. After an introduction to different research scenarios in which focus groups can be used, including practical tips about planning and conducting them, students will be divided into breakout rooms to organize and conduct their own. We will also explore activity-oriented questions, which can be more revealing that interview-type questions commonly asked in focus groups. Lastly, we will discuss the challenges and ethical sensitivities when conducting focus groups.

To participate in this workshop, you will need to prepare the following material(s):

Please watch the following videos:

At the end of this workshop, you will have obtained the following skills:

  • Learning when a focus group is the best method to be used in their research
  • Knowing the pros and cons of a focus group as a qualitative method for their research
  • Being aware of ethical implications when conducting a focus group
  • Knowing the different steps in organizing, running, and interpreting a focus group
  • Knowing what questions and alternative activities can elicit useful responses.
  • Having a hands-on understanding of how to conduct a focus group for their research.

Workshop format:

Zoom and the function of breakout rooms, the session will last 2,5 hours.

– – Registrations are currently open for anyone, regardless of whether they are a student in Research Methods 2 or not. Final registrations close on Monday 23 November 2020 at noon. – –


Registrations are currently closed for this event.