Healthy Eating Reflection

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Our research topic was, ‘To seek to understand what affects your healthy eating consumption when you’re in college’. I used R.W. Belk’s ‘Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing’ as a parameter in relation to the implementation of our focus group. I used Belk’s six stages of a focus group as an evaluation guide for this reflection.
Our questions appeared to be focused upon attitude but the probing questions I followed with broadened the question to be more concerned with experience. For example, question three: ‘how often would you go grocery shopping? Do you go prepared? I.e. with a meal plan or list.’ I believe the phrasing of the question greatly affected the atmosphere. This proved to be very successful, in relation to how
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However, we formed the questions with the notion that healthy eating is subjective. Therefore, our questions acted as a prompt for discussion rather than just seeking an answer. As a result, we still received a broad range of viewpoints. However, maintaining the diverse range was down to question one. For this task we asked participants to individually write down their personal opinion of what healthy eating was. The purpose of this was to put the group into the mind set of which we wished to discuss and to use it as a reference point for our final question: At the end of this discussion, do you still believe that you are a healthy eater? Unbeknownst to myself at the time, it was very clever of us to have a written set of ‘untainted’ viewpoints before any discussion takes place. What I mean by ‘untainted’ is that from reading Bristol and Fern’s article I learned that the group dynamic greatly affected the viewpoint a person would put forward. In the lecture it states that the data can be affected by, attitude polarization, compliance i.e. a socially desirable answer, and/or group think (homogenization).What is interesting is that now we unintentionally created a similar scenario for reflection of group dynamics. Bristol and Fern summarize that the, “Shifting of overall attitudes, both in polarity and amplitude, was significantly greater in focus groups than in either of the benchmark techniques (446).” It is therefore, impossible to take note if an individual is being affected by the group dynamic because according to Farnsworth and Boon, they state that, “as groups communicate, often non-verbally, they reshape or reconstitute the information that is gathered (619).” Therefore, no input is truly honest because, to re-iterate Bristol and Fern, any belief could easily be polarized or depolarized by the continuous influence of the group
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