UMN Research Group:with Mary Anne Casey, Sally Dinsmore, David Ernst, Jim Hatten, Richard Krueger, Michael Lee, CarynLindsay, Alison Link, Nance Longley, Mary Catherine OBrien, Patrick OLeary, Alfonso Sintjago
Why/how is this a focus group? ○ A small, homogenous group of information-rich participants ○ Involved in a focused discussion (in-person, online, or over the phone) ○ In a non-threatening environment ○ Guided by a skilled moderator ○ Using systematic and verifiable analysis
Collecting Data Flickr Image - CC BY-SA 2.0 – by letmehearyousaydeskomdeskom
Important Steps for Moderators1. Require participants to create an account.2. Give clear instructions on how to navigate the site.3. Answer questions via internal messaging or email.4. Monitor participants answers, and encourage them to respond to each other’s comments.5. Summarize responses with a post at the end of each day through a short list of bullet points.
Ning Demonstration● Log into focusgroupmesi.ning.com● 15 groups - Username and Password provided● Visit discussion forum and answer...● What is one of your favorite online shopping sites?● We will encourage you to use the chat room for side conversations.● Any Questions?
Take-Aways for Synchronous Groups● Have 2-3 moderators ○ Talk-moderator ○ Tech-moderator● Hardware: ○ headphones (mandatory) ○ plugged into ethernet (if possible)● Teach the tech - before and during● Build in redundancy● Anticipate glitches and model patience for your participants (i.e. Stay cool!)
Environment● Make it welcoming ○ friendly feeling ○ welcome video● Personalize it ○ profile pictures, avatars ○ let people display their "personhood"● Pay attention to layout and design ○ simple! simple! simple!
Participants● Keep the group small (4-5)● Know your audience - Busy lives - Tech skills - Tech availability● Consider how you recruit ○ Furnish the right incentives (to keep them coming back!)
Technology● Keep the tools simple● Stay behind the curve● Keep the technology support "quiet" ○ Be unobtrusive (dont interrupt the conversation) ○ Be proactive (teach the technology, practice session, have a back-up plan)
Moderator● Establish rules of engagement● Be socially present● Have multiple moderators● Be prepared to manage interactions