How to run a focus group at your newspaper
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  • 1. Redesign Workshop Texas Center for Community Journalism Texas Christian University March 9-11, 2011 REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011
  • 2. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011
  • 3. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OORnMYoWX9c
  • 4. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 10 Steps to a successful focus group
  • 5. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 1. Define your purpose
  • 6. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 1. Define your purpose “ What do we want to achieve?” “ What do we want to know?” “ Why do we want to know that?” “ How specific do we need to be?” * Write a one sentence purpose statement
  • 7. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 2. Back out your prep schedule
  • 8. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 2. Back out your prep schedule 6-8 weeks - Write your purpose statement - Identify the participants , get info 5-6 weeks - Select a facilitator 4-5 weeks - Develop the questions - Develop a script - Arrange, reserve the site - Arrange for taping, recording or scribing 3-4 weeks - Write and send the invitation 2 weeks - Follow up the invitation with a phone call - Check out room, seating, equipment 1 week - rehearse and review 2 days - reminder email, call to participants 1 day - visit site again 4 hours - prepare site
  • 9. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 3. Identify and invite the participants
  • 10. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 3. Identify and invite the participants How many? Number of focus groups: Three or more   Group size: Six to 12.   Response rate: General public: 50% to 66% Staff: 99.9%   (number of focus groups) X (number of participants per group) ÷ (response rate) = number of invitations to send 
  • 11. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 3. Identify and invite the participants Profile your participants: Readers, non-readers, ethnicity, gender, education level, income level, zip code, etc. Recruit: You can rent, buy or borrow lists Recruit from readers in person, at events, at the counter Recruit on the website, social media, blogs Get suggestions from staff Who is best? You want a variety good communicators, people that can express themselves. Diverse and articluate. Should you pay?  
  • 12. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 4. Write the questions
  • 13. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 4. Write the questions Create a question list but only five to seven will be used in one or two hour session. Test your questions with staff and evaluate if you are getting the information you need and revise if needed. Keep questions open-ended, focused, and move from general to more specific. What do you like about the paper? Where might we improve the paper? What do you not like about the paper?
  • 14. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 5. Write the script
  • 15. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 5. Write the script Scripts ensure continuity across all sessions Scripts keeps the facilitator on track and on target Three main parts: Opening: welcome, overview, introductions Questions Closing: thank you, further input, data use Keep it two hours maximum
  • 16. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 6. Select your facilitator
  • 17. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 6. Select your facilitator Staff member Volunteer Committee member Professional Marketing student A two-person team Patient Neutral Good communicator Focused
  • 18. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 7. Select your location
  • 19. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 7. Select your location Accommodating Comfortable One-way mirrors? Easy to find Affordable
  • 20. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 8. Conduct the session
  • 21. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 8. Conduct the session Get there early Notepads and pencils Markers, erasable board, flip chart or easel paper Focus group script List of participants with phone numbers Masking tape Name tags, cards Refreshments Tape recorder or video camera Watch or clock
  • 22. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 8. Conduct the session Have a release form to sign Agree to be taped, videoed, photographed, streamed. Segments might be used by the company in any internal or external manner. They are to follow the direction and guidance of the moderator. They might be quoted in a written report. Ideas or concepts generated in the group are property of the company paying for the focus group.
  • 23. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 8. Conduct the session Atmosphere: comfortable, enjoyable, and open Head off arguments, flares or soapbox speeches Keep on track Avoid dominance through taking turns Avoid cliques, even to the point of breaking and reseating. Avoid non-participants by direct ? or talking with at break Avoid personal confrontation - allow the group to police itself (e.g. "do others in the group agree?") Avoid Group Think
  • 24. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 9. Review session and write the report
  • 25. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 9. Review session and write the report Read notes as soon as possible Analyze and read all in one sitting Note trends and surprises as well as context and tone. Include: Background and purpose of the report Details of the sessions (facilitator, date of session, participants) Results Conclusions
  • 26. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 10. Take action The greatest failure you can have is to take no action A few things you can do: Hold a meeting to review the summaries Highlight the main themes, issues, problems, or questions Discuss and record how you will address these Too much info? Group info and assign teams to work Compare and contrast the focus groups with other info Follow up with participants Establish and prioritize objectives and actions
  • 27. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 Questions?
  • 28. Focus Groups REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011 RESOURCES: http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-usability/focus-groups.shtml http://www.groupsplus.com/pages/mn091498.htm http://www.fieldstonealliance.org/client/tools_you_can_use/12-05-07_focus_groups.cfm
  • 29. Redesign Workshop Texas Center for Community Journalism Texas Christian University March 9-11, 2011 REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011
  • 30. REDESIGN WORKSHOP  TEXAS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM  TCU  MARCH 9-11,2011