Using focus groups and quality circles to enable pupil voice in European teenagers from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds

Noel Purdy*, Jayne Hamilton, Peter K. Smith, Catherine Culbert, Herbert Scheithauer, Nora Fiedler, Antonella Brighi, Consuelo Mameli, Annalisa Guarini, Annalisa Guarini, Damiano Menin, T. Völlink, Roy A. Willems

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter provides some findings from the Blurred Lives Project, funded under the Erasmus+ scheme within the EU. This project aimed to investigate cyberbullying in schools among young people (age range 14–16 years old) in Northern Ireland, England, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. The young people came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. In the first phase a survey was given to a minimum of 400 participants from schools in each country. The second phase aimed to provide accessible, up-to-date resources for teachers, pupils, and parent/carers, and make important recommendations to social networking providers. In each country, two classes were selected out of the schools that participated in the survey. Two procedures were then used to enable pupil voice: sequential focus groups (SFGs) and quality circles (QCs). The SFG sessions were carried out at three separate points; (1) before QCs, reflecting on the survey findings, and (2) and (3) after the QCs, reflecting on what the latter had produced. The QC sessions involved two classes from each country meeting for at least seven sessions. The task for the QCs was to design resources for pupils, what would be helpful for parents to know, how teachers could better equip pupils for using the internet, and recommendations for social network providers. In this chapter we will discuss the experience of carrying out SFGs and QCs with pupils from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, the challenges and difficulties faced, and recommendations for similar work in the future. We will also discuss the feedback from the young people themselves about the process of being involved in this way. The resources produced will be going on the Project website. We will evaluate the extent to which giving pupils power to design the resources themselves was appreciated by them, and the extent to which this led to new ideas and insights. The strengths and limitations to this kind of approach will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChild and adolescent online risk exposure
Subtitle of host publicationAn ecological perspective
EditorsMichelle F. Wright, Lawrence B. Schiamberg
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780128175002
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-817499-9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Coparticipation
  • Cyberbullying
  • Quality circles
  • Sequential focus groups
  • Social disadvantage


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