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Analyzing a focus group transcript

Robyn Longhurst

This is a fictional transcript created about a fictional situation for use in a class on focus groups

Aim of Research Project: To examine young people’s experiences of going on an overseas secondary school tourism fieldtrip

Focus Group: Six students from Huntaway College in Auckland, New Zealand ‒ aged between 13 and 16 years – who embarked on a ‘tourism fieldtrip’ to Fiji

Participants (pseudonyms used):        Sarah Female, Pākehā (European), 16 years

                                                        Crystal Female, Pākehā, 13 years

                                                        Mary Female, Pākehā, 14 years

                                                        Rowan Male, Pākehā, 15 years

                                                        Terry Male, Pākehā, 15 years

                                                        David Male, Pākehā, 14 years


Location of Focus Group: A participant’s home ‒ sitting at kitchen table with facilitator


Sarah: Yeah, so our group from Huntaway College, we all went to Fiji late last year when we were Year 12s.

Crystal: Yeah, me too (.) like Sarah says we all went, and we got real close as a group (//)

David: (//) Yeah but there were bits of that trip that were terrible – one bit especially [laughter]

Sarah: I still think about that (//)

Mary: (//) I had tried to forget about them.

Facilitator: Who do you mean by “them”?

Mary: There were these Indian kids, oh maybe some Fijians too there. ‘Bout 18 – bit older than us. Ya know, I think they’re probably always hangin’ round there in the city centre in Suva, and, like they, about 10 of them were trying to scare us. I reckon they just try and make you, like cause we are young, and tourists, so they can kind of say ‘this is my place’ and ‘you should all f*** off.’

David: Yeah well I wouldn’t walk right close to them or anything, oh maybe in the day but definitely not at night. We were there just as it was getting dark and our teacher had gone to get some dinner.

Facilitator: In what ways is it different at night?

David: I’m not sure, it’s just scarier, like maybe they had some alcohol, or drugs, or maybe not. Drunker or something. I kind of really couldn’t understand what was going on. They were just really agro [aggressive] at us, maybe for being white, or being tourists, or something (//)

Rowan: (//) I think they were off their faces [inaudible], yeah, I don’t know, whatever they can get I guess. They were yelling ‘f*** off at us’. It didn’t make me scared so much as angry. I don’t see what is wrong with going to another country to try and understand other people’s cultures and stuff. We were helping the Fiji economy! [laughter]

Sarah: They were all guys.. Where were the girls? No girls. I felt freaked ‘cause they were all guys and a bit older than us, and our teacher, she really should have been there with us but I don’t think they would have listened to her anyway. They just really seemed to not like us or want us there.

Crystal: Yeah, it was a bit scary. They were saying like ‘f*** off’ to us.

Mary: But if you just let them get to you like that then they’ve won. Like they’ve managed to move you out of the CBD and that sucks ’cause anyone should be able to walk wherever they like in whatever country.

David: Yeah, but I’d rather not there again end up beaten up. They weren’t that old but they were mean and they didn’t like Pakehas or New Zealanders or something. That’s what I think anyway.

Group: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Robyn: Oh? How do you mean?

Rowan: Yeah, like David says, they’re really anti-European I think. Maybe they figure if you can afford to fly there, if you’re European then you must be rich or something but we fund-raised and so yeah well, it’s okay to abuse you and rob you or rip you off just ’cause you’re European so that’s like what they think.

Terry: But you’ve got to feel a bit sorry for them. Like maybe they don’t have much living there in Suva, or maybe they have parents who are never home, never well, never needed, I mean, never, like (.) they’re parents haven’t been there for them, and aren’t there when they need them sort of thing (//). Or maybe we are just being a bit racist.

Rowan: But that doesn’t mean that they should get heavy with tourists, especially if it’s just ’cause their skin is a different colour.

Terry: I never really felt threatened when we walked past them. Not really. I mean one of them called out to me but I just ignored him. I reckon it’s a bit sad. I wouldn’t want to just hang around all day getting off my face and getting into fights. It must get boring after a while ‒ not that school isn’t, but you know what I mean.

Rowan: The police in Suva ought to not let them get away with it.

Robyn: Who?

Rowan: The police ought to do something with groups like that. There are those wardens we saw – remember ‒ who hang out there but I don’t know how much good they do. But the police just seem to let them do it – maybe ’cause they’re under 16 and Fiji law doesn’t cover them.


Transcription codes

(.) denotes a pause in conversation

(//) denotes overlap in talk

Underlining denotes emphasis

[xxxxx] square brackets used to add notes


What are your initial responses to this focus group transcript?

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