ArticlesUsing Internet Discussion Boards as Virtual Focus GroupsMoloney, Margaret F. RN, PhD; Dietrich, Alexa S.; Strickland, Ora RN, PhD, FAAN; Myerburg, Stuart JDAuthor Information From the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. (Moloney, Strickland) Anthropology Department, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. (Dietrich) Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. (Myerburg) This study was supported by grant NINR R-15 AREA from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Bethesda, Md. Corresponding author: Margaret F. Moloney, RN, PhD, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, 1520 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30322 (e-mail: [email protected]). Advances in Nursing Science: October 2003 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 274-286 Buy Abstract While the potential of Internet-based qualitative research methods is substantial, such methods are not without their problems. Some of these methodological challenges are unique to the medium, while others are similar to those of more traditional qualitative methods. This article presents some of these methodological challenges, and explores some of the issues involved in using on-line discussion boards as virtual focus groups in a study of perimenopausal women with migraines. Design of the study and its advantages and disadvantages are discussed, including the role of the moderator. Some of the problems encountered included potential for misunderstandings due to limits of written communications, and difficulty encouraging participation. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.