Landfill Focus Group Topic Guide
due in two weeks
Review the background of our client's situation in past assignments. Since we haven't yet provided any material deliverables to our client, there have been no substantive changes in our focus or the essential issues. Recall our conjecture that opposition to a proposed landfill might be associated with such factors as population density, per capita income, home ownership rates, education levels, and such.
One way to initially explore the effects of these sorts of factors is to conduct focus group interviews. Focus group sessions could provide insights regarding how people from different demographics might react to issues associated with hazardous and medical waste landfills. Below is a letter that could be sent to our client to propose such a project. On an assumption that the client would agree that focus group interviews should be conducted in the manner proposed in this letter, write the topic guide for this study.
Refer to our screener assignment: your focus group interviews must be based on the same general research objectives that were outlined in that assignment.
At the top of your Topic Guide, include the following information:
Within your Topic Guide:
For this particular Topic Guide:
Assume that you will be the moderator -- that you are not writing this for a stranger to conduct the session. This means that you do not need to write out all of the wording as if it will be read by someone. For example, you might list that participants will be asked to introduce themselves and might list the probes that go with that general area of discussion, but you do not have to write out all of the text of what will be said. Do, however, write all of the general questions that would be asked so that the details of the discussion are very clear to a client. That is, you are not writing this for someone else to run the session, but you must write it with sufficient detail so that the client can read it and know precisely what you intend to do in the conduct of the session.
You are strongly urged to study the following examples before writing your topic guide:
Dear Ms. Hasmatt,
As a followup to our phone conversation, here is a proposal to explore some initial answers to the kinds of questions that you had.
The present study would be an initial exploration into questions associated with the level of opposition that different kinds of people might have toward a landfill in their county. Although we suspect that factors such as education level, income level, and population density might be associated with peoples' propensity to generate opposition to a landfill, we don't know if they actually do and, if they do, we don't know if people with lower or with higher levels on these factors are more or less likely to generate opposition. The objective of this survey is to gain insights regarding factors that might be associated with greater or lesser opposition to a landfill.
Our proposal is to randomly recruit residents of a target county that you choose after reviewing the results of our demographic analysis. You might instead prefer to sample from a multiple county area, and recruitment could easily be modified to your preference. The quota sample of these residents would include
Focus Group Topic Areas
Recommended discussion flow is as follows:
We will provide you with a topline report summarizing the results of and conclusions from these sessions. We will also provide you with a presentation of results and conclusions on our campus during our last class meeting.
Our estimated timeline is as follows:
Weeks 1 and 2: Recruit participants (telephone).
Weeks 3 and 4: Conduct the focus groups (Week 3 Saturday, one week after end of recruiting).
Weeks 5 through 7: Write reports; rehearse presentations in class.
Week 8: Present results to you orally and in written report form.
Since the materials that we would consume are part of the normal, reasonable costs for a student, there will be no cost to you for materials. Since this is a student learning project, there also would be no cost to you for time. However, since students cannot be asked to incur the costs of long distance phone calls to outlying areas, you would have to allow these calls to be made from your shop. The focus group sessions can be run on our campus, so there would be no facility rental costs to you. However, you would be responsible for costs and arrangements for food. You would also be responsible for the payment of inducements to participants ($75 each to a total number of participants that is at least 48 and no more than 56).
Ms. Hasmatt, please let me know if you need any additional information. If you believe that anything in our proposal should be changed, let us know as soon as possible. Thanks for this opportunity for our students to work with you.
- Bob O.