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    Co-producing online focus groups for health and social care research

    Heyes, Kim ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9029-545X (2023) Co-producing online focus groups for health and social care research. In: Handbook of Social Sciences and Global Public Health. Springer Reference, Cham, pp. 1-17. ISBN 9783030967789 (print); 9783030967789 (online)

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    In this chapter, it is argued that the use of co-production, in particular using online focus or consultation groups, is vital to gain a true understanding of what people want and need from health and social care services, and in empowering communities to advocate for that change. The recent pandemic expedited the move of services and research to online spaces. Understanding how to conduct research online in the most effective way has been challenging. However, online research has proven beneficial, reducing barriers to participation and enabling spaces for meaningful engagement. Although previously there have been arguments that online focus groups were too impersonal and did not facilitate trust between the researcher and the participants, it is now imperative that researchers get this balance right to utilize this tool effectively. Health and social care research should always be co-produced in an equitable partnership between experts by experience and researchers. Online focus groups can be an excellent way of conducting this research, and this chapter explores how to do this, and how to learn from mistakes made along the way.

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