Surveys and Focus Groups in Health Research with Older Hispanic Women

Michelle A. Saint-Germain, Tamsen L. Bassford, Gail Montano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This article contrasts the findings from two studies undertaken on the barriers to health care use in general and to breast cancer screening in particular that are faced by older Hispanic women. One study conducted a randomly selected population survey; the other used focus group interviews. These two techniques are compared regarding their interaction with Hispanic culture in terms of methodology, data produced, and results. Focus group interviews are considered a culturally appropriate methodology for research with older Hispanic women because they draw on oral traditions, norms of helping, and existing social networks. While the two approaches tended to produce similar findings, the focus group interviews revealed some important differences. The article concludes that the survey interview is more suited to documenting individual levels of knowledge and practice, whereas the focus group interview is more suited to reproducing community attitudes and patterns of practice and explaining the reasons behind the survey findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-367
Number of pages27
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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