Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries


Provide an introduction to focus group methodology ... government libraries I am now a great believer in the power of focus groups ... Sample Quotes and Coding ' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Getting In Focus a focus group primer for libraries

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

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

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

  • 1950s Communication studies in film and
  • 1960s Marketing and commercial product
  • 1980s Social, behavioural health sciences.
  • 1990s Library applications

Library studies using focus groups 1990 2004
  • 1990 1994 43
  • 1995 - 1999 49
  • 2000 - 2004 57

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

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

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
  • developing and evaluating user education or
    reference services
  • understanding user communities
  • understanding staff needs in organizational
  • designing new facilities
  • testing survey research design clarifying
    survey results

  • 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)

Focus Group Methodology
  • Planning identify problem, clarify purpose, plan
  • Recruitment who, what criteria, how many, what
  • Moderating Conducting logistics, roles,
  • Analysis data, data, data, debriefing reporting

  • 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

  • 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

  • When to use smaller groups
  • high level of involvement with topic by
  • 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

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

Moderating Conducting
  • Location
  • Moderator role
  • Question development

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

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?

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?

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?

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

  • 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

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
  • 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.

Time Spent Analyzing Data
  • ltltltltltmore time/rigour less
  • transcript based tape based notes based
    memory based

  • 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

  • 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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