Smart mobility, Smart governance, Smart economy, Smart environment, Smart living, Smart people
Focus group is one of the qualitative methods for collecting, analysing and interpreting the data. Researches/ community coordinators are looking for qualitative (and not quantitative) data. Those data help answer the questions What, How, Why? Focus group is a sort of a group interview that intends to gather detailed knowledge and opinions from selected participants/stakeholders. It is characterised by discussions that uncover concerns and opinions held about some particular issues. It is quick and effective way to stimulate new ideas and simultaneously build interest and commitment to change. Focus groups provide detailed data, enabling to understand the addressed issue in greater depth. Participants can confirm not only that there is a problem or a success, but indicate why. This method is used in many cases: for collection of data, analysis of data, detection and evaluation of the needs of certain group of people/community, evaluation processes, evaluation of the achievements, planning the changes, introducing some changes, re-evaluation of the process, identifying opportunities. In general, by applying the focus group method, the participation in the process of decision making or identification of local difficulties are increased.
For carrying out a focus group meeting, first we need organising team: - Content planner is also a focus group leader. It has to be familiar with the main topic of the meeting but also organized a team of professionals for consultants on important matters. - Organizer takes over responsibilities for logistics: contacts with (possible) participants, prepares the venue, the timetable, technical equipment etc. - The role of facilitator can be taken over by any member of organizing team who is familiar with and good at moderating group conversations. Facilitator also opens the meeting by presenting the topic, team members, and encourages conversation all along. - Recorder takes over the responsibility to take notes of details that cannot be written with voice or video recorders (describes atmosphere etc.). - Analyser takes over the last part of focus group meeting – i. e. analysing the collected data. The role can be ascribed to any member of the organizing team. One of the important steps is also deciding on whether we need one or more focus groups to get the information we are interested in, to evaluate how much time we are going to need and whether we need some financing/funding to organize he events. Think about why you want to organize the focus group and decide on the main goals and research questions. According to this organize the organizing team which chooses the target audience, date and location of the event(s). When the logistics are settled, form a questionnaire and provide recording equipment. Invite the participants (e-mail or mail) and shortly describe the main objective of their participation.
The facilitator makes the introduction and acquaints participants with the aim of the meeting, introduces team members and reveals the timeframe of the event. The facilitator is flexible to the group dynamics and takes care that everybody is treated with respect and given space to speak. The facilitator should stick to the designated time-frame. At the end of the meeting the recorder and facilitator make short summary of the event and expose important points. If there are other events following, they draw attention to that.
After the meeting analyse the date collected through the audio/video records and in the notes. Make (preliminary) conclusions and share the results with the participants. If the follow-up event is planned share the information with the participants as well.According to the results plan further actions.
Village, Town, Municipality
Recurring events, 60 – 120 minutes
Organizing team (including facilitator, organizer, content planner, recorder, analyzer) and 10 - 15 participants.
Moderator skills required, moderator knowledge required.
Sector: Universal method