May 14, 2018

In Western Europe, Public Attitudes Toward News Media More Divided by Populist Views Than Left-Right Ideology

Appendix B: About the focus groups

Pew Research Center conducted a series of focus groups to better understand where people turn for information and their attitudes toward the news media in their countries. Four focus groups were held in each of the following four countries: the UK, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.17 Each focus group consisted of eight adults coming together for an hour and a half for a discussion led by a professional moderator from Ipsos MORI using a guide developed by Pew Research Center.

In each country, the groups were structured according to the following criteria:

  • Group 1, “lower education” – all participants had less than a college degree;
  • Group 2, “younger, higher education” – all participants were under 35 years old and had at least a college degree;
  • Group 3, “older, higher education” – all participants were ages 35 and older and had at least a college degree;
  • Group 4, “supporters of right-wing or populist parties” – all participants had at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, the National Front in France, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the United Kingdom and the Sweden Democrats in Sweden.

Focus groups were balanced with regard to gender and participants were required to have at least some interest in politics and to consume news at least several times a week. No participants worked in the media industry or identified as working in politics. Groups 1-3 were balanced with regard to left-right ideology, with at least two participants who identified on the ideological left and two on the ideological right in each group.

Focus groups were held in the following locations and on the following dates:

  • London: May 15-17, 2017
  • Paris: May 17-18, 2017
  • Stockholm: May 29-30, 2017
  • Amsterdam: May 31-June 1, 2017

Ipsos MORI recruited the participants via phone using a screener designed by Pew Research Center. All participants were given financial remuneration for their time.

  1. Focus groups were held in four, rather than all eight countries, because of time and resources. Countries were chosen purposefully in order to ensure coverage of multiple types of European media systems identified in previous research (Hallin & Mancini, 2004; Bruggemann et al., 2014).