I am not sure if the title describes my question here, but I am not sure whether I need to use the definite article in this context:

Qualitative research instruments include interviews, focus groups, reviews, and observation. [The] Interviews include either a series of structured questions, or allowing subjects to speak out their experience. [The] Focus groups allow gathering observations from a group of people who have similar properties. For instance, a group of men over 40. They give their opinions of the given topic. [The] review is done to collect scholarly written literature or other published materials to find attitudes towards a subject.

Do I need to use "the" in the bold sections in the paragraph above? If so, can you please explain the reason?

  • This looks a little like Uses of the definite article (the), although it's not quite a duplicate. May 25, 2015 at 19:44
  • Just my gut feeling. I would not use the definite article, but I would write Reviews. It is clear that you explain the aforementioned terms. And in such explanations of terms a definite article is not used.
    – rogermue
    Jul 25, 2015 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Not necessarily. You are indeed referring to specific interviews, focus groups and reviews, i.e. the ones that you have already mentioned. However, in this case, you will draw attention to that fact by using the definite article, and you won't if you do not. You may choose either. Personally, in this case, I would not use them.

One other point: I would change review to the plural reviews to make it consistent with the others.

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