|Manual for the Use of Focus Groups (Methods for Social Research in Disease) (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1993, 97 pages)|
|Part II: Staff training for focus group discussions|
As well as talking, people give many messages through body language. These are very important to understand if the meaning behind what people are saying is to be understood, and observers of focus groups need to take note of these as well as verbal responses to questions.
It is difficult to be expert at this without special training. Try to use common sense, by being aware of this. In the training and debriefing sessions, discuss body language, including common gestures and expressions used in your culture to indicate feeling or emotion.
The observer is the main team member watching body language and tone of voice. Although this will be a major part of his or her role, it is also important for all team members to consider body language during the discussion. The observer will note certain things during the session that he or she will want more information about, so practice observing signs people give that do not involve words and listen to what they are saying at the same time!
11.2 Things to watch for in "non-verbal" messages
The expressions people use whilst talking provide us with a lot of information about how they are feeling about what they are saying. Try writing a list of the types of facial expressions used to give certain impressions, and include the real message they are sending.
This is as important as facial expressions. The way people are sitting can give you a lot of information about how they are feeling about the discussion. People use body language differently in different cultural settings. Try to list down some body postures that convey feelings (such as boredom, excitement, interest, impatience, anger or resentment, or lack of understanding), and include facial expressions in this exercise. If listing is difficult, try to demonstrate the body postures and facial expressions yourselves.