Survey and Research Methods

Session 7: Interviews and Focus Groups

Dr. Gangadhar Mahesh, B. Arch, M. Eng, Ph.D

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ACM – Survey and Research Methods

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1 Dr. Gangadhar Mahesh

Delphi Survey
• A survey conducted in two or more rounds and provides the participants in the second round with the results of the first so that they can alter the original assessments if they want to - or stick to their previous opinion

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ACM – Survey and Research Methods

2 Dr. Gangadhar Mahesh

Interviews
• A systematic way of talking and listening to people and are another way to collect data from individuals through conversations • When to use - When there is a need to attain highly personalized data - When there are opportunities required for probing - A good return rate is important - When they have difficulties with written language

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ACM – Survey and Research Methods

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Types of Interviews
• Structured interviews
- Interviews in which all respondents are asked the same questions with the same wording and in the same sequence

• Semi-structured interviews
- Works with a list of key themes, issues, and questions to be covered - Additional questions can be asked and some may be questions that have not been anticipated in the beginning of the interview - The order of the questions can be changed depending on the direction of the interview

• Unstructured interviews
- Casual and each interview is different

• Non-directive interview
- No preset topic to pursue - Interviewer listens and does not take the lead; The interviewee leads the conversation

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ACM – Survey and Research Methods

4 Dr. Gangadhar Mahesh

Introduction to Focus Groups
• A focus group is a carefully planned discussion designed to obtain perceptions on a defined area of interest in a permissive, non-threatening environment • When to use
- Exploratory Studies - Confirmatory Studies

• When not to use
- When the discussion could become emotionally charged - When the researcher loses control over the project and relinquishes control to a biased third party - When statistical projections are needed - When other methods would produce better quality information - When confidentiality is required NICMAR
ACM – Survey and Research Methods
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Advantages and Disadvantages
• Advantages
- Socially oriented research procedure - Format allows the moderator to probe: flexibility to explore unanticipated issues. - High face validity - Relatively low-cost - Relatively fast results - Unlike structured interviews, increasing the sample size requires minimal time and resource investment

• Disadvantages
- Less experimental control - Data more difficult to analyze - Requires carefully trained interviewers - Groups may vary considerably - Groups may be difficult to assemble - Discussion must be conducted in an environment that is conducive to conversation

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ACM – Survey and Research Methods

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Who is Involved in a Focus Group
• Moderator • Note-taker/Assistant Moderator • Participants - Group composition - Group size
- On average, 6-10 people participate in each focus group - Small enough to give everyone the opportunity to express an opinion. - Large enough to provide diversity of opinions. - Should be composed of people who are not too familiar with one another (e.g., friends, family) - Typical focus group study has a minimum of three focus groups and as many as several dozen groups

- Selection
- Bias - Randomization - Cost vs. Quality

• Transcriptionist NICMAR
ACM – Survey and Research Methods
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Focus Group Design 1
• Carefully plan the focus group • Write the script and practice • Identify and recruit the participants • Conduct the focus group sessions

• Develop the coding scheme
• Segment and code the data • Analyze the data • Interpret and publish the results
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ACM – Survey and Research Methods
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Focus Group design 2
• Scripting a Focus Group
- What do you want to know? - What kind of response will a given item elicit? - Clarity of questions - Consensus Vs Divergence

• Types of Questions
- Opening question (Ice breaker) - Introductory questions - Transition questions - Key questions - Ending questions
- All-things-considered question - Summary question - Final question

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