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close this bookManual for the Use of Focus Groups (Methods for Social Research in Disease) (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1993, 97 pages)
close this folderPart II: Staff training for focus group discussions
View the documentSection 1: Introduction
View the documentSection 2: Introduction to focus groups
View the documentSection 3: Overview of skills training session
View the documentSection 4: Roles of the team
View the documentSection 5: Personal characteristics of the moderator
View the documentSection 6: Preparation for each focus group discussion
View the documentSection 7: Entering the community and activities for the reception of participants
View the documentSection 8: Beginning the focus group discussion
View the documentSection 9: Moderator skills: Asking questions
View the documentSection 10: Encouraging and controlling the discussion
View the documentSection 11: Moderator and observer skills: Observing non-verbal messages
View the documentSection 12: Observer skills: Recording the session
View the documentSection 13: Closing the discussion and meeting
View the documentSection 14: The debrief

Section 3: Overview of skills training session

3.1 Introduction

The moderator plays a key role in the focus group discussion. Many of the sessions in the training course apply to the moderator, but other roles are discussed, as well as general issues related to focus groups, that the whole team needs to understand. Although certain sessions are directed to the moderator, and others to the observer or other team members, it is recommended that all team members attend all sessions. For this reason the sessions are not grouped according to which team member is to be involved, but are presented in the same order as they occur during a focus group project.

Although there is much to learn about focus groups, the easiest way to improve skills is to practice, each time trying to include more skills. For the purposes of this training course we will include all of the things you will need to know to be able to conduct a focus group.

It is recommended that you prepare a field guide to take with you into the field. A field guide is a summary of all the main points about focus groups. They can be very useful in refreshing your memory on areas you wish to develop more in each focus group. It also helps you in the beginning when it is not reasonable to expect to be able to remember everything at once.

3.2 Knowledge and skills required of field staff in focus group discussions

The knowledge and skills that you will need to develop will be discussed under different headings:

· Roles of the team (including management of focus groups in a second language).
· General personal characteristics of the moderator.
· Preparation for focus group sessions.
· Activities for reception of participants.
· Communication and co-ordination with the team.
· Beginning the focus group.
· Asking questions.
· Encouraging and controlling the discussion.
· Observing for non-verbal messages.
· Closing the sessions.
· The debrief.