Turning Tables: A Structured Focus Group Method to Remediate Unequal Power during Participatory Design in Health Care

Jonas Geuens, Luc Geurts, Thijs W. Swinnen, René Westhovens, Maarten Van Mechelen, Vero Vanden Abeele

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In a participatory design process, patients as well as care providers play a critical role in the design and development of healthcare apps. However, special attention should be given to problematic group dynamics that may arise from unequal power across participants. In this paper, we present Turning Tables, a focus group method, inspired by social interdependence theory (SIT), to mitigate asymmetric power. First, we present our SIT-inspired protocol for conducting focus groups. Next, via a qualitative analysis of 2 focus groups, we describe group dynamics and evaluate our method. Observations show that by splitting teams into patients versus care providers, and by specifying turn-taking (giving the floor to patients first), unequal power can be mitigated. However, observations also show that participants default back into their traditional roles during less formalized moments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPDC' 18 roceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference
Subtitle of host publicationShort Papers, Situated Actions, Workshops and Tutorial
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-145035574-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event15th Participatory Design Conference, PDC 2018: The 15th Participatory Design Conference - Hasselt and Genk, Belgium
Duration: 20 Aug 201824 Aug 2018
Conference number: 15


Conference15th Participatory Design Conference, PDC 2018
Abbreviated titlePDC 2018
CityHasselt and Genk


Dive into the research topics of 'Turning Tables: A Structured Focus Group Method to Remediate Unequal Power during Participatory Design in Health Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this