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Church of St. Gregory’s Focus Group Facilitation Guideline

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1 Church of St. Gregory’s Focus Group Facilitation Guideline

2 What is a facilitator? Facilitate means “to make easy.”
As a facilitator, your job is to make the meeting easier for the participants. A facilitator manages the method of the meeting, rather than the content. Facilitators are concerned with how decisions are made instead of what decisions are reached.

3 Facilitator responsibilities
Be enthusiastic Be energetic Be open-minded Be Self – Organized Establish a rapport with the group and set the stage for a productive discussion. Stay alert to group dynamics, to recognize threats to productive group discussion Manage group dynamics so that discussion flows smoothly and people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. There are no wrong answers Stay open-minded themselves so that the preconceptions about the topic and the participants are minimized State the questions clearly

4 Key Characteristics for a focus group
6 to 12 people Participants are homogenous on the basis of recruitment Led by a facilitator (usually 2) in a group interview format 1-1 ½ hours duration; max is 2 hrs Used when qualitative information is needed – goal is NOT to reach consensus, solve a problem or make a decision Seek to obtain insights into attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and feelings among the participants Questions are predetermined, sequenced, and open-ended

5 Why a focus group? Identifying needs and expectations of stakeholders
Probing for perceptions and experiences Obtain feedback for improvement and expansion Obtaining more detail from key issues identified in the survey

6 Structured Questions Assists the group to be on “focus”
Assists the facilitator to be on track Allows opportunities for everyone to participate Ensures that specific areas are covered Provides some structure Allows for more quantifiable information to be collected

7 Respectful Rules Be respective of participants
Interpret feedback accurately Clarify any statements, using open ended questions (how, why, what) Clear up any misunderstandings of information Be objective, please refrain from giving an opinion, if wish to give one , you are welcome to join a focus group

8 Respectful Rules Aim for balance
Empathy with a participant and bias that prevents you from seeing the situation in another point of view Individuals story and the need for the group to fully participate Emotions- your own feelings to a response and your professional responsibility to manage the discussion Order - between the questions as planned and the unexpected direction that may occur

9 Communications Skills
Non-Verbal Skills Active Listening Repeating key phrases: ‘more specific information ..’ Summarizing messages: ‘So, what you’re wanting to see here is…’ Showing empathy: ‘It must have been really frustrating ….’ Repeat your understanding of their comments in your own words Ask the speaker if that is correct and for any clarifications Make sure key points by the speaker are captured Ask as a check to verify understanding Adopt a relaxed open posture Listen with your eyes as well as your ears-look at the speaker Listen for basic fact and main ideas Listen for attitudes, opinions, or beliefs Do not interrupt the speaker Use positive, non-verbal communication to prompt the speaker Be aware of the speaker's non-verbal communication

10 When to use Active Listening?
The person isn’t being clear You are reacting defensively to what is being discussed You want to demonstrate that you understand You want to defuse the situation You want to sum up what has been said You want to elicit more information You want to move on

11 Handling Situations Assertion Skills – Criticism:
be clear, firm, respectful if session is not going in the desired direction. “I would like to move on”, “We are going off track” Criticism: Please do not be defensive especially if a participant criticizes us, our service or organization. Politely defer to the end of the discussion and then obtain the nature of the problem, showing concern and empathy and then relay the issue and information to Fr. John

12 Remember If the going gets tough Use your own (very good) judgment
Tune in to the atmosphere of the group Two heads are better than one (co-facilatator /notetaker assists) Use a combination of listening skills and assertion skills

13 Getting Started Main facilitator will
be given their list of focus group and participants contact the participants and co- facilitator schedule a convenient time to set up the interview You may use the rectory for your interview, contact Judy Walsh to reserve Conduct interviews by Aug 31st Contact Judy Walsh with the date and time of your interview and where it will be held if not at the rectory

14 Beginning of the Session
2 co facilitator One leads the interviewing One takes notes and keeps time and assist if needed Start on time; Provide refreshments upon arrival but must be brief Have ready: Your introduction (provided tonight) Copy of the questions for each participant (provided tonight and rectory will make copies for the group) Focus group participant list Note book – for recording comments Closing statement

15 General Discussion Greet each participant
You will open by thanking the group for their time Explain the purpose of the focus group Start the session by introducing yourself and the group members – quickly! You will explain that there will be two facilitators One to manage the discussion/questions/ One to take the notes We want all participants to be comfortable No person should be compelled to participate in a focus group, or to answer a question nor should they be made to remain if they wish to leave State that Confidentiality will be maintained The note taker may take a name for reference ( if need to call for clarification) however the name will not be placed in the completed focus summary which will be submitted unless the person consents! Not all participants may answer every questions due to time allowance.

16 Interviewing Provide the participants a copy of the questions after your introduction and welcome Ensure all participants with reasonable airspace Rotate the participant who answers the questions. Avoid having the same person answer first. Make sure all answer before a second round of opinions Ensure that the questions provided are the focus of the discussion Our purpose is to keep positive, if there are criticisms of the past remember we are discussing the future. Don’t concentrate on one topic question at the expense of others. Write down the criticism so we can follow up later.

17 Note- taking Both facilitators my take brief notes, but one should have primary responsibility Should summarize the key points being made by the focus group Try to record the comments in the appropriate space of the interview schedule so that minimal sorting has to be done later Use Tick marks when there is agreement between several members on an issue, tick the comment by the number of people Record good quotes verbatim, so they can provide flavor to the report. Submit summary to Judy Walsh no later than 48hours after the interview!

18 Note taking Report participants’ words but do not identify them by name Describe main participant characteristics Use descriptive phrases or words used by participants as they discussed the key question Identify themes in the responses to the key questions Identify sub-themes indicating a point of view held by participants with common characteristics Include a description of participant enthusiasm or other group characteristics if relevant if there as inconsistency between participant comments and their reported behaviors, record this Suggest new avenues of questioning that should be considered in future: should questions be revised, eliminated, added, etc. Summarize the overall mood of discussion In giving meaning to the descriptions, be careful about your own biases in interpretation

19 must be sensitive to the atmosphere to choose the best option
If you run out of time must be sensitive to the atmosphere to choose the best option Ask the group if you can extend the current session Work quickly through the key questions with the time remaining Finish before having all your questions answered  Allow for follow up feedback given by phone or

20 Closure Let the group know that if they wish to see their focus group notes they may contact the note taker Explain that once all the focus group interviews have been conducted and notes summarized, the pastoral council will review them to formulate their next steps in determining St Gregory’s goal for the five year plan which will be communicated in the bulletin Thank the group for their time and input

21 St. Gregory’s Focus Groups
Parents- High School Students Parents – Elem/MS Students Young Adults Years Married Individuals Separated/Divorced/Single Adults/Senior Citizens/Disabled General Group – 2 Lectors Eucharistic Ministers Religious Formation Teachers Saturday Morning Men’s Group Women’s Guild and Prayer Shawl Daily Mass

22 Focus Group Questions Looking at your experience in our parish, can you recall a time when you felt most alive, most proud, most enthused or most committed to St. Gregory's? What are the things that excite you about St. Gregory's?  How would you go about engaging people in a fuller, more active and conscious participation at the Eucharist?  What do you value most about Sunday Eucharist?  What do you value most about your involvement at our parish?  What are the opportunities that we are missing to actively engage you, your friends or family, more into our church community?  In what way does our parish work to accommodate people and families who have physical, spiritual, emotional or other needs?  How do we reach out to them?  In what ways could our youth be more fully integrated into the faith community of St. Gregory's parish?  Looking to the future, if you could transform our parish in any way you wished, what three things would you do to enhance its life and vitality?  Just list the 3 things.  What is your current assessment of our parish facilities in light of the evangelizing mission of the Church?

23 for assisting in this endeavor!
Any questions ??? Thank you for assisting in this endeavor!

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