1. Did the moderator do an adequate job of getting the information needed by the SCC? The moderator did a good job getting the information needed. * He started out appropriately by explaining who he was and the purpose for the research (focus group). * Encouraged respondents to talk to one another as he started with a broad question everybody could answer (“How do you think the computer lab is meeting your needs”) and as the students got more comfortable talking he asked more specific questions (“How effective do you think their waiting lists system is?”).
* Requested for everyone’s opinion, especially those who seemed quiet (i.e. Tammy, Jennifer). * Brought out a variety of viewpoints.
* All of his questions were open-ended, which encouraged students to talk. * Avoided/reduced influence of dominant people by asking questions that led to another discussion. * Made sure the students shared all of their concerns by asking, “Is there anything else?” several times before closing. My only suggestion would be to start the discussion by having an icebreaker.
With the dating services video we watched in class, the moderator asked a questions that “broke the ice” in order to make the participants talk. This could have avoided having to ask the quiet people to talk.
2. Do you think it was wise to have a group with both graduate and undergraduate students included?
I think that in this case it worked because there were topics involving both undergraduate and graduate (i.e. Oliver talking about how graduates should buy their own computers).
It seemed like the students had no problem sharing their ideas. However, instead of having five graduate and only two undergraduates I would have balanced that with an even number of both.
3. Analyze the focus group transcript very thoroughly. Make a list of problems and ideas generated for the student computer lab.
4. What do you see as the benefits and limitations of the focus group findings? Do you think the task force plan for utilizing the focus groups is appropriate?
The benefits of having this focus group include: being able to uncover unanticipated ideas and topics from actual consumers/users, having control to conduct the session with questions asked by the moderator, lower research cost per person, and the ability provided to Rod Stevenson to see the actual focus group discussion. Some of the limitations could be: having a small representative sample, not being able to get a professional response from participants, some might not be comfortable with the moderator, and having the moderator guide the discussion. In my opinion, the task force did a good job choosing the focus groups for the purpose of having exploratory research. In addition, they also combined that with a student survey and provided descriptive research.