Use of Focus Groups in Developing Behavioural mHealth Interventions: A Critical Review

H.C. Eborall, KL Morton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The benefit of incorporating and embedding qualitative work in the development of complex interventions is now widely accepted. The MRC framework, for example, states that focus groups can be useful: in ‘defining the components of the intervention’ and in ‘defining the trial and intervention design’. In the case of ‘m-health’ interventions (behavioural interventions that incorporate the use of mobile technologies), this can include formative testing, pre-testing and piloting, through to implementation and evaluation. Despite this recognition, we question whether focus groups and data are being used to full advantage. Working chronologically through the stages of intervention development, we draw on relevant literature and our own experience, our main case study is the PROPELS trial (an mhealth project for people with pre-diabetes). We discuss how we used focus groups to develop an m-health support and maintenance arm, incorporating the use of tailored text messages and telephone support.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA New Era in Focus Group Research: Challenges, Innovation and Practice
PublisherMilton Keynes: The Open University and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-58613-1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2017


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