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Small Groups.

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1 Small Groups

2 Group Data Collection and Data Generating Techniques
The Delphi Technique (by Kofi) Focus Groups (by Jenny) Brainstorming (by Cristian) Nominal Group Technique (by Sara)

3 Attributes of small groups
Group-based techniques involve the simultaneous use of multiple participants in the data generation/collection process They vary greatly in terms of structure and application ”They have a role to play in the exploratory stages of a study where the researcher seeks to involve potential research participants in shaping the direction and scope of an investigation”(Carney et al. 1996: 1024) They are also used if the purpose of the researcher is to increase the depth and scope of discussions on ideas and issues (More 1987) There is a better chance of getting to the “truth” if you combine the judgment of many, rather than one. Allows you to understand social phenomenon from the viewpoints of the actors. Complex problems often can only be addressed by pooled intelligence (Moore 1987, as cited by Clayton 1997).

4 What is Delphi Technique?
“It is a method for the systematic collection and aggregation of informed judgments from a group of experts on specific questions or issues. Repeat rounds of this process can be carried out until full consensus is reached”(Reid 1988: as in Williams & Christine 1994: 180) It is used to establish facts, forecast, generate ideas, make decisions, and obtain information when adequate information is not readily available. Three main groups are involved: Decision maker Researcher Participants “obtain the most reliable consensus of opinion of a group of experts…by a series of intensive questionnaires interspersed with controlled opinion feedback” (Dalkey & Helmer 1963)

5 The Delphi Technique Key Investigators
The name Delphi ”originates from the oracle at Delphi, where the ancient Greeks were said to be able to forecast future events”(Williams and Christine 1994: 181) First conceptualized in 1953 in the USA by Air Force sponsored Rand Corporation for defense research Now widely used as a tool for solving problems, planning, and forecasting.

6 Underlying Logic Has roots in the Hegelian principle of achieving Oneness of Mind through thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Anonymity and confidentiality of group members enhances accuracy of responses heterogeneity within the group increases trustworthiness and authenticity. Consensus serves as a test of validity There are problems and questions that are best answered by people’s judgments and opinions.

7 Features of Delphi Technique
Highly structured Non-interactive Anonymity-questionnaire Iteration-members look at all the responses of others (sometimes in the form of stats) Controlled feedback-members provide feedback to other’s responses Statistical aggregation of group responses

8 Delphi Technique Group Member-characteristics
Reflect current knowledge Are recognized and credible in the field Represent diverse perspectives

9 Delphi Technique Process
Researcher sets question(s) on an in issue of interest Researcher identifies and selects experts Researcher sends out initial open-ended question (s) to the experts usually by post. Experts respond to question (s) and return them to researcher. Researcher aggregates and analyzes responses. Researcher sends out categorized data back to group members to rank and add comments. More rounds of the same until a high level of consensus is achieved.

10 Disciplines that use this technique
Military Education Medicine Business Economics Social and Biological Sciences Urban and regional planning

11 Strengths of the Delphi Technique
It’s flexibility allows for considerable diversity in application Consensus on expert opinion provides evidence for concurrent validity Minimizes the influences of dominant people on small groups (Write, 2006) Panel members have the opportunity to retract, alter, or add new ideas in subsequent “rounds.” The anonymity and confidentiality of panel members ensure honest responses Efficient means of gathering information and wisdom from geographically separated experts at relatively low cost Results can be viewed as highly trustworthy if “quality” members were chosen. Personal and political conflict among group members can be avoided. Good for situations where purely quantitative methods are not appropriate; where human judgment and input is necessary. It allows for the participation of larger groups of people than other group techniques

12 Weaknesses of the Delphi Technique
Large time and energy investment required of members Lack of accountability with the anonymous nature of decision making Absence of a concrete criteria for identifying experts Low response rates in final “rounds” result in response biases Trustworthiness and reliability depends on the selection of, the willingness of, and ability of group members. Results are highly dependent on how the researcher frames the topic and questions, and interprets the results. Difficulty of determining the point at which consensus is reached There is no consensus on the size of panel which often ranges between members (Mead 1992) There is no evidence of replicability of findings (Williams and Christine 1994)

13 Focus Group History 1930’s – social scientists searching for an alternative to the individual interview – seeking in-depth information, and a less intrusive role for the researcher. Stuart A. Rice one of the first social scientists to lead the search for a new method. Shift to nondirective interviews with open ended questions, continuing work in the social sciences by Roethlisberger, Dickson, and Rogers in areas such as employee motivation and psychotherapy.

14 More History on Focus Groups
World War II interview techniques used in groups, and the focus group was born. Pioneered by Robert K. Merton in his studies of morale in the U.S. military. A classic work is The Focused Interview (1956) by Merton, Marjorie Fiske, and Patricia L. Kendall. Began being used by business sector for marketing in 1950’s. Not widely accepted until the 1980’s by academics.

15 Nowadays Market research: Learn how to sell more of a product or service. Short turnaround in processing results, so no in-depth analysis of results. Confidentiality is key; methods and results kept private to reduce competition. Academic/Scientific: More concerned with reliability, rigor, peer review, etc. Process had to be “defensible, systematic, and verifiable” (Kreuger & Casey, p. 161). Goal is to contribute to theory or a body or research. Non-profit/Public: Pragmatic; goals are to make decisions, improve programs/services, and be responsive. A mix of need for speedy results and in-depth content analysis. Participatory Research: In early 90’s - began using volunteers as researchers, from the community.

16 Characteristics of Focus Groups
Involve people: 6-8 or 10-12, Small enough for everyone to contribute but large enough to provide diversity of interaction. People have certain characteristics: chosen because they have something in common. Recruited based on the desired similarity. Traditionally were people who didn’t know each other, but not always the case now. Qualitative data: a range of opinions across several groups (Kreuger & Casey, p. 11). (Naturalistic approach). Focused discussions: questions are determined ahead of time, sequenced, and open ended. Purpose is NOT to come to consensus. Skilled moderator Open, permissive environment Usually conducted until reach saturation. Typically 3-4 groups for each type of participant.

17 Strengths of Focus Groups
Ability to explore a topic in-depth, and identify key ideas or concepts. Allows researcher to understand attitudes and perceptions. Ability to interpret non-verbal responses. Group interaction can facilitate new ideas and ways of thinking.

18 Weaknesses of Focus Groups
Dominant individuals may jeopardize individual objectivity (Uhl 1983 as cited in Clayton, 2006). Pressure to conform may be present. Results from a small, purposive sample can be hard to defend to a quantitatively oriented audience. Can be difficult to facilitate and requires a skilled moderator. Can be costly - incentives are usually necessary.

19 To use or not to use?….that is the question
Uses of Focus Groups: Decision making Product or program development Customer satisfaction Planning and goal setting Needs assessment Quality Movements Understanding employee concerns Policy making and testing Primary or secondary research tool. Do not use focus groups when: You want consensus You want to educate You are seeking sensitive information Emotionally charged or potential for conflict

20 Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
First Developed by A.L. Delbecq and A.H.VandeVen in 1972 (Sample, 1984) It is a structured variation of a small group discussion method. Used to form a consensus. Used when there is controversy or conflict

21 Nominal Group Technique-what is involved?
Generating Ideas: Each individual in the group silently generates ideas and writes them down. Recording Ideas: Group members engage in a round-robin feedback session to concisely record each idea. Discussing Ideas: Each recorded idea is then discussed to obtain clarification and evaluation. Voting on Ideas: Individuals vote privately on the priority of ideas, and the group decision is made based on these ratings.

22 Here is how NGT works Divide the people present into small groups of 5-6 State an open-ended question. Give individuals time to brainstorm by themselves and write down their ideas. Have group members share their ideas one at a time around the table and have someone record on flip chart Have individuals look at the compiled list and pick the best ideas and rate privately. Have individuals share their choices with each other and then present to the larger group, which ideas got the most points.

23 Strengths Balances participation across members.
Balances influence of individuals. Can generate more creative ideas than interacting groups. Can produce a greater number of ideas than do traditional interacting groups. Reduces the conforming influence common to most face-to-face group meetings. Encourages participants to confront difficult issues on a problem-solving basis rather than on a personal assault basis. Leads to greater sense of closure and accomplishment.

24 Weaknesses Requires advance preparation, which means that it cannot be a spontaneous technique. Tends to be limited to a single-purpose, single-topic meeting-narrow focus. Needs agreement from all participants to use the same structured method, which some people might resist. Can feel mechanical.

Since 1954 Until Now

26 Key Investigators Alex F. Osborn (1953) Applied Imagination
Described the BST Presented example of how BST could be used First Time Tested (1958) by Taylor, Berry and Block Claiming that groups using BST could generate more ideas than the same number of individuals working separately.

27 Disciplines that led the way
Business Psychology Marketing Education In all these cases the groups are seen as the essential part of an organization.

28 Has the purpose for which the methods were developed changed?
Has not changed dramatically. BST still mainly focuses on generating ideas in the business area, but also in new areas such as education, psychology. However, those ideas are more focused on solving a specific problem or issue. BST has adapted to the growing wave of technology (electronic brainstorming).

29 Original and Modern Techniques
Central Theme: “groups generate more ideas if their members concentrate on producing whatever ideas occur to them” (Gallupe et al., 1992, p. 351) Developed to look for new ideas that would help to sell products. An experimentation process. Find things that help Identify and avoid things that were inhibitive Is both a group technique and a problem-solving technique. Doesn’t focus on a specific problem or issue. Up to 12 participants, which is confirmed in other studies

30 Underlying Logic of BST
GENERAL RULES Suppression of critical attitudes. Is to postpone criticism during brainstorming Don’t try to drive with your brakes on Free wheeling is welcome Release the imagination Be wild in your thinking Quantity of ideas is desired As many as possible The law of probability goes in favor Combination and improvement of ideas Others can reinforce or supplement other ideas Everyone’s experience is different

31 Brainstorming, at its finest!

32 The Brainstorming Technique
NOWADAYS Generation of ideas in response to a given question or issue. (More focused) Maintain the same general rules, but add some operative rules Someone must be asked to manage the session A good environment is essential (Facilitator responsibility) Several techniques can be used Face-to-face brainstorming Freewheeling, Carousel, Slip Method Anonymous brainstorming Electronic brainstorm

33 Strengths of Brainstorming
Listening exercise that allows creative thinking for new ideas Encourages full participation because all ideas equally recorded Draws on group's knowledge and experience Spirit of congeniality is created - one idea can spark off other ideas

34 Weaknesses of Brainstorming
Low productivity due to the facilitator can be unfocused people may have difficulty getting away from known reality criticism and evaluation may occur What the facilitator has to do Follow the original rule, but also: Don’t tell stories Don’t explain ideas Keep people talking

35 Weaknesses of Brainstorming
Low productivity due to Social factors Productive blocking- not all can speak at the same time. Forget ideas/or decide not to share them Difficult to process ideas Other ideas distract/interfere with thinking Social comparison process - matching performance To the least productive member Inhibitive the generation of rich ideas Evaluation Apprehension- fear of critique Not to present original ideas Free - riding and Social loaf- When group members perceived their own contribution to be Unidentifiable Dispensable

36 Brainstorm Members Should...
Enter in the process with an open mind Come from different disciplines Not critique other ideas during the session Be willing to work on other ideas (improve them) Respect and follow the instructions of the facilitator

What are ways the UI could be more environmentally sustainable? Brainstorm Group Go in hallway Nominal Group Stay in this room

38 Nominal group Basic Steps Individual brainstorming (5 min.).
Sharing your ideas round robin (moderator will write them down). Discuss list, if necessary. Ranking the ideas individually by voting on the top 5. Share your top five (moderator will tally votes).

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