All 13 focus group discussions were transcribed verbatim (a lengthy and challenging process). The researchers’ experience was akin to that of Bloor et al (2001) who suggest that a one-hour focus group typically takes up to eight hours to transcribe (much longer than most individual interviews). Difficulty with transcription related to assigning what was said to who said it, participants talking over each other, background noise (not helped by the provision of snacks), participants engaging in conversation as an aside to the main discussion and interruptions. Having a co-facilitator who took notes which included the first few words a participant said each time they spoke, as well as utterances or whispers which may not have been picked up by the recording aided the transcription process and helped to overcome some of these challenges. Nevertheless, researchers conducting focus groups must be aware of how these events may impact on the ability to later transcribe the recordings and try to manage these during the discussion, without imposing on the flow of the dialogue.

The completed transcripts from the focus groups were then organised and coded using Nvivo computer software ( The next step was to analyse the coded data thematically to identify the range of young people’s responses to particular contingencies (e.g. from anti-violence attitudes to attitudes condoning of violent or abusive behaviour). Once the analytic themes were identified, the researchers returned to the complete transcripts to examine the ways in which young people moved between different discursive positions in relation to violence when confronted with specific scenarios and/or the reactions of other groups members. Following particular participants through an entire discussion and exploring how they shifted discursive positions, sometimes in a way that appeared quite contradictory, could be revelatory as explained in greater depth in the paper ‘This is Abuse? Or is it?’ published in the journal Crime, Media and Culture.

Gadd, D., Corr, M-L, Fox, C. L., & Butler, I. (2014). This is abuse or is it? Domestic abuse perpetrators’ responses to anti-domestic violence publicity. Crime, Media, Culture, 10(1): 3-22