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Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries by Jan Figurski for OLA Superconference 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries by Jan Figurski for OLA Superconference 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries by Jan Figurski for OLA Superconference 2005

2 Objectives Provide an introduction to focus group methodology Describe how libraries can benefit from using focus groups Provide resources for further study

3 Focus groups are a form of structured interview that utilizes communication between participants to generate data. - Kitzinger (1995) involves group interaction in discussion generates qualitative data used to create insight and understanding

4 History 1950s – Communication studies in film and television. 1960s – Marketing and commercial product development. 1980s – Social, behavioural & health sciences. 1990s – Library applications

5 Library studies using focus groups 1990 – –

6 Focus Group Survey No. of libraries responding: 176 No. of libraries using FG: 43(24%) No. of libraries not using FG:133(76%) Havent used FG but intend to:103(77%) - Glitz (1995)

7 Observations from the Literature Libraries well-suited to benefit from focus groups Focus groups underutilized in libraries

8 Focus group studies used for: evaluating services & collections performing needs assessments setting financial or program priorities determining user satisfaction strategic planning; clarifying goals and values developing and evaluating web and catalog interfaces developing and evaluating user education or reference services understanding user communities understanding staff needs in organizational change designing new facilities testing survey research design ; clarifying survey results

9 Having conducted [hundreds] of focus groups in all kinds of libraries and institutions – public libraries, school boards, university libraries, hospital and health libraries, government libraries – I am now a great believer in the power of focus groups and feel that they are under-used. - Cavill (2002)

10 Focus Group Methodology Planning: identify problem, clarify purpose, plan ahead. Recruitment: who, what criteria, how many, what incentives Moderating & Conducting: logistics, roles, topics/questions Analysis: data, data, data, debriefing reporting

11 Planning Define the purpose and outcomes of project Identify staffing resources required Develop timelines Develop budget Develop recruitment plan Establish and book locations, dates, times, equipment, catering Identify roles, and draft questions Determine analysis plan, and reporting requirements

12 Recruitment Define target population and its segments Identify the composition of each group Develop eligibility and exclusion criteria Develop screening and invitation scripts for direct or indirect contact Make initial contacts Determine procedures for follow up

13 When to use smaller groups: high level of involvement with topic by participants participants are experts purpose is to get detailed stories topic is complex, controversial, emotional When to use larger groups: lower level of involvement with topic goal is to hear numerous suggestions/points of view

14 How Many Groups? Until you achieve theoretical saturation Understanding a diverse populations ideas on a complex topic will involve more groups Caution against using only one group

15 Moderating & Conducting Location Moderator role Question development

16 Funnel Approach Top of funnel: 1 or 2 broad, open-ended questions Middle: 3 or 4 central topics Bottom: 4 to 6 specific questions End: 1 summary question

17 Focus Group Flow Setup Participants arrive Welcome and introduction Opening questions: 1. When you think about using library materials, what is the first thing you do? 2. How do you go about getting the information you need?

18 Focus Group Flow Topical questions: 3. Think back to the last time you found material that you were looking for. What do you think made your approach successful, and what if anything, made it difficult? 4. Think back to the last time you were unable to locate the material you were looking for. What do you think were the reasons you were unsuccessful?

19 Focus Group Flow Specific questions: 5. What types of materials do you use most (list types) and how do you find them? 6. What is your experience in finding materials on the library shelves? 7. What are your experiences with the checkout, renewal and return procedures of the library? 8. What has been your experience with using (name of online catalog) or the librarys web site to access electronic resources? 9. What do you do if you are unable to find something that you expect to be in the library?

20 Focus Group Flow Ending questions: 10. All things considered, what do you think are the most important things the library can do to make materials and information easier to retrieve? 11. What one change to improve the reliability of the library would you make? Closure Debrief

21 Analysis Organize session notes, tapes, transcripts, and debriefing notes Analyze and code data to determine key findings Organize the findings to match the format of the final report Prepare final report for presentation

22 Sample Quotes and Coding My training session, the librarian got called away after half an hour and didnt complete it. My orientation was given by a person who was the only person at the desk. All I did was watch them answer questions. Yeah, I hate it when Im the only one on the desk. I hate it when the system is being backed up and you cant get access to anything. How can you keep up with all the new systems? Im uncomfortable dealing with people who have disabilities. We just dont have the tools to give them much help. You spend all this time teaching them, and then they dont follow your advice anyway.

23 Time Spent Analyzing Data >>>> transcript based – tape based – notes based – memory based

24 Use focus groups when: - your goal is to listen and learn - you can explore through conversation - you can obtain knowledge by listening - your purpose is to identify problems - your purpose is to plan for programs, surveys or quality initiatives - your purpose is to improve program implementation - your purpose is to assess program outcome - you need a friendly, respectful research method

25 Avoid focus groups when: - your purpose is selling, educating, or negotiating - you cannot hold a focused discussion because of the breadth of the topic or the size of the group - you need strong predictors of behaviour - the participants cannot really speak to the topic (e.g. non-users) - you need statistical data (from: The Focus Group Kit, Morgan et al, 1998)

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