Focus groups zoom in on school district's concerns

By Joan Richardson

Imagine this scenario: The Laredo School District ends school at 1 p.m. every Wednesday to provide time for teachers to work with colleagues during their workday. Although parents initially supported the idea, after a few months’ experiences with the new schedule, the district begins to hear many parent complaints. In tight budget times, parents question whether this is a wise use of public dollars.

11 questions to ask before you launch a research project

Questions should be open-ended. Those that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” should be avoided.


Facilitator dos and don'ts

“When selecting facilitators, look for someone with a certain skill set. Facilitators have to be able to manage a conversation. That includes having the ability to cut somebody off when one of the participants has said enough.” — Kris Kurtenbach Collaborative Communications Group


Sample invitation letter

“The first person to speak in a focus group really sets the tone. So, when I begin, I try to get them talking about their day, how was their trip to the place where we’re having the focus group, anything like that so I can get a sense of who are the negative people in the room. I will not start with them. I want to start with someone who has a sense of curiosity or is at least positive. If I start a focus group on a negative tone, they will do nothing but vent. It’s OK to do that as long as they’re being thoughtful, not negative.” — Kris Kurtenbach Collaborative Communications Group


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