This article explores the possibility for researchers to embrace the unpredictability of focus groups by using activities as a stimulus for conversation. Reflecting on a recent study with young women in Bristol exploring their perceptions of celebrity feminists, it argues that using writing and drawing activities forces the researcher to relinquish control, and their role as questioner and as expert, to the participants. Furthermore, by analysing the ways in which I frequently became uncomfortable at the consequences of this loss of control, trying to regain it and failing, I argue that the activities forced me to fully commit to the feminist ideals of research that I subscribed to, particularly redressing the hierarchical relationships in research settings. Finally, the article discusses the implications of these findings in feminist research, and the need more broadly to reflect on how methodological decisions impact on researchers’ own performances in focus groups.
- focus groups
- feminist research