Qualitative social research sought the research priorities of people with diabetes from an inner-city community in Nottingham. Thirty nine adult patients with diabetes from varying ethnic backgrounds were recruited from three general practices. Six focus groups were conducted with men and women from different ethnic groups. Patients were asked first to consider important areas in their lives and second how these would influence research they would like to see carried out in diabetes. They were asked to think about order of priority, but this was not a consensus-seeking exercise. Nine main themes emerged as important to the lives of people with diabetes. Each theme subsequently led to the development of specific research themes/questions.