Having written about evaluation history previously, I identified those who contributed, not those who could be called evaluation pioneers; rather those who had influenced my thinking. I think it is noteworthy to mention those evaluation pioneers who set the field on the path we see today, those whom I didn’t mention and need to be. As a memorial (it is Memorial Day weekend , after all), Michael Patton (whom I’ve mentioned previously) is coordinating an AEA365 to identify and honor those evaluation pioneers who are no longer with us. (Thank you, Michael). The AEA365 link above will give you more details. I’ve also linked the mentioned evaluation pioneers that have been remembered. Some of these pioneers I’ve mentioned before; all are giants in the field; some are dearly loved as well. All those listed below have died. Patton talks about the recent-dead, the sasha, and the long-dead, the zamani. He cites the Historian James W. Loewen when he makes this distinction. Some of the listed are definitely the sasha (for me); some are zamani (for me). Perhaps photos will help (for whom photos could be found) and dates. There are Continue reading
Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Even after 30+ years of evaluation, I make mistakes . It may be a mistake that occurs in the planning and modeling; it may be a mistake that occurs in the implementation, monitoring, and delivery; or a mistake in data management (qualitative or quantitative); or more than likely, a mistake in the use of the findings.
Probably the biggest mistake I have ever made was making an assumption at the planning stage. Continue reading
Focus groups are a wonderful data gathering collection methodology. Not only are there different skills to learn for interviewing, analysis gives you the opportunity to explore qualitative data analysis. (It is all related after all.)
Now, I will confess that I’ve only ordered the 5th edition of the Krueger and Casey book (I don’t have it). I’m eager to see what is new. So I’ll settle for the 4th edition and try and regale you with information you may not know. (I will talk in a future post about the ways virtual focus groups are envisioned.)
Focus group describes (although sometimes incorrectly) a variety of group processes. Krueger and Casey give the reader a sense of to what to pay attention and to what is based on faulty data. So starting at the beginning, let’s look at an overview of what exactly is a focus group.
Groups are experiences that affect the individual throughout life and are used for planning, decision making, advising, learning, sharing, self-help, problem solving, among others. Yet group membership often leaves the individual Continue reading
Previously, I talked about Survey’s (even though I posted it April 27, 2016). Today, I’ll collect all the posts about focus groups and add a bit more.
2010/01/05 Talks about the type of questions to use in a Focus Group
2010/01/27 One of three topics mentioned
2010/09/09 Talks about focus groups in terms of analyzing a conversation
2011/05/31 Talks about focus groups in the context of sampling
2011/06/23 Mentions Krueger, my go to
2013/11/15 Mentions focus groups
2014/10/23 Mentions focus groups and an individual with information
2015/02/11 Mentions focus groups…
2015/05/08 Virtual focus groups
Although focus groups are a mentioned throughout many of my posts, there are few that are exclusively devoted to focus groups. That surprises me. I need to talk more about focus groups. I especially need to talk about what I found when I did the virtual focus groups, more than with the specific post. From the interest at AEA last year, there needs to be much discussion.
So OK. More about focus groups.
Although Dick Krueger is my go to reference for focus groups (I studied with him, after all), there are other books on focus groups. (I just discovered that Krueger and Casey have also revised and published a 5th edition.)
The others for example (in no particular order),
- Stewart, D. W. & Shamadasani, P. N. (1990). Focus groups: Theory and practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. There is a 3rd edition of this book available
- Morgan, D. L. (ed.) (1993). Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
- Greenbaum, T. L. (2000). Moderating focus groups. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Greenbaum, T. L. (2nd edition). (1998). The handbook for focus group research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Carey, M. A. & Asbury, J-E. (2012). Focus group research. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc.
Mary Marczak and Meg Sewell have an introduction to focus groups here (it is shorter that reading the book by Krueger and Casey).
I think it is important to remember that focus groups:
- Yield qualitative data;
- Are used in evaluation (just not in a pre-post sense);
- Are a GROUP activity of people who are typically unfamiliar with each other.
Next time: More on focus groups.