NOWAL Fcous Groups Exchange of Experience
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NOWAL Fcous Groups Exchange of Experience

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NOWAL Fcous Groups Exchange of Experience NOWAL Fcous Groups Exchange of Experience Presentation Transcript

  • FOCUS GROUPS AS A RESEACH METHOD: Will Reid –LJMU Learning and Information Services Elena Zaitseva, Beth Mithcell -CETL
  • Introductions
    • Principal Information Officer –Off campus and partnerships, subject support for Languages and Business Information and oversee User Education issues.
  • Outline
    • Focus groups as a research method
    • How to run focus groups
    • A case study to look at (questioning skills)
    • Not discussing data analysis this time
  • The big fear..…? http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =rLl7xZU3iXk
  • What is a focus group?
    • … a group of individuals selected and assembled by researchers to discuss and comment on, from personal experience, the topic that is the subject of the research (Powell et al 1996: 499).
    • FG is a form of group interviewing, but there are differences between the two
    • FG relies on interaction within the group
  • When to use focus groups?
    • Can be used at any stage of research or evaluation as a method in their own right or as a complement to other methods :
    • For preliminary/exploratory study (to generate hypotheses etc.)
    • During study
    • To assess results/generate further programme of study
    • To develop other research tools (questionnaires)
    • For data triangulation and validity checking
  • Why use focus groups?
    • A method to obtain data on respondents’ attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions in a way in which would not be feasible using other methods
    • FG enables to gain a larger amount of information in a shorter period of time (time saving)
  • Why use focus groups?
    • Useful when there are power differences between the participants and decision-makers (less intimidating for participants)
    • Useful when one wants to explore the degree of consensus on a given topic
    • Opportunity to get insight into the ways in which individuals are influenced by others in a group situation
  • Benefits for participants
    • The opportunity to be involved in decision making processes
    • If FG research is of an applied nature, empowerment can be achieved
    • FG gives them a chance to explain their point of view
    • Could enhance their understanding of a topic/issue through interaction
  • Drawbacks….
    • Practical arrangements
    • Not fully confidential
    • Facilitator could have a limited control over discussion
    • Difficult to identify individual view from group’s view
  • How to attract participants
    • Most ethical way – to ask volunteers
    • Use a clear, understandable language explaining the purpose of your study and (possible) benefits for the participants
    • Some incentives could be used (coffee and biscuits, book vouchers), but be careful!
  • What does facilitator need?
    • Organisational skills
    • Rapport building skills
    • Questioning skills
    • Ethical procedures in place
  • Organisational skills
    • Equipment
      • Method of recording
      • Clock
      • Interview guide
    • Time management
    • About 8 participants
    • Anticipate distractions
    • Summarise key points at the end
    • Facilitate whole group involvement
    • Do listen to the "loudmouth”
  • Building Rapport
      • Use the participant’s own words
      • Summarise/ paraphrase
      • Nod and make affirmative sounds
      • Tilt your head slightly
      • Maintain a high level of eye contact
      • Avoid giving your own opinion
      • Avoid interruptions
  • Questions
    • Try to ask open questions
    • Avoid ‘double-barrelled’ questions
    • Avoid leading questions
    • Have a general question at the end
    • Clarify responses you do not understand
  • After the Focus Group
    • Write down any observations you have about the FG
    • Make notes on your notes (so you can read them later)
  • Ethical considerations
    • Ethical approval
    • Informed consent
    • Obtain permission to record
    • If possible do not interview your own students or students you know
    • Establish/make it clear who will have access to the information at what level
  • Case Studies
    • New Social Learning Zone.
    • Having introduced anew SLZ management were keen to get face to face feedback quite promptly prior to official opening. Cross faculty, cross level
    • QAA Survey
    • Student Experience Review
  • FG Questions – for discussion
    • Are you satisfied with the project so far?
    • Did you experience personal difficulties while being mentor?
    • Did you manage to achieve a rapport with your mentee?
    • How often you were online, checking the questions of your mentee?
    • What do you think you did right and what wrong?
    • Do you want to participate in the programme in the next semester?