Organisational creativity exercise
Brief description of creativity technique
The focus group technique is one example used to explore the opinions, knowledge, perceptions, and concerns of individuals in regard to a particular topic. The focus group typically involves six to ten individuals who have some knowledge of or experience with the topic. The group discussion is led by a moderator who guides participants through a series of open-ended questions. The information gathered can provide important clues to human attitudes and values as they relate to the topic.
The technique can also be used successfully in conjunction with other research tools, such as surveys, either to help develop a questionnaire or to explain specific survey results. In promoting creativity, focus groups can be a great tool as it allows for more open discussion and open-ended questions.
Exercise for skills at the level of:
Learning objectives of the exercise
Focus groups are structured to foster talk among the participants and interpret previous survey results, deepening participants’ opinions about an issue, such as the use of digital technologies to boost language teaching activities. Another goal of the focus groups is gathering and talking about good practices participants may be familiar with or have knowledge of.
Within the focus groups, the selected participants will be stimulated with open-ended questions in a discussion type atmosphere in order to generate comparative analysis of a given topic.
One trained facilitator and one trained observer should be always present. It is advisable to record focus groups with the consent of the participants.When compared with direct assessments of student learning, focus groups may contribute additional information that would otherwise not be identified through rubrics or instruments containing closed-ended questions
Skills developed/enhanced by the exercise
In person: 1-2 hours
Online: 1-2 hours
How many people are needed?
6-10 individuals plus a facilitator and an observer
In person: notepad, voice recorder, handout questionnaires, post-it notes, consent form
Online: notepad, voice recorder
Instructions for conducting the exercise
In this scenario, the students are the actual focus group. In preparation for the focus group, students can decide the topic of the focus group in a previous class. If deemed necessary, students can also be allocated a certain role in order to achieve diversity of the group. One of the students can be the silent observer, taking notes on the responses and interactions. The steps to implement the technique are:
Step 1. The facilitator invites all the participants to introduce themselves, including their professional or personal background related to the topic of interest
Step 2. Start with engagement questions
Introduce participants to and make them comfortable with the discussion topic
Step 3. Continue with exploration questions
Focus and debate on the findings of online surveys and semi-structured interviews
Step 4. Finish with exit question
Make sure that anything was missed in the discussion and that everyone had the change to contribute with their opinions
Step 5: The silent observer summarizes the findings.
Step 6: Students discuss the success/shortcomings of the technique