Course Outcomes

This facilitation skills course for qualitative interviewers and group facilitators will:

  • Give participants tools and techniques for conducting smoother in-person and virtual group interviews.
  • Suggest best practices for explaining goals and setting expectations.
  • Recommend guidelines for creating unbiased questions and offering nonjudgmental feedback.
  • Offer ideas for building trust and encouraging candor.
  • Provide tools for orienting participants and ensuring understanding.
  • Share best practices for managing group dynamics.

Program Overview

Well-run focus groups, roundtables, and qualitative interviews can provide researchers with insights not evident in quantitative research. This two-part virtual training session offers best practices for planning and executing in-person and virtual group interviews. Part one focuses on planning and part two on execution.

Segment One Objectives

  • Recognize how their assumptions, values, and attitudes can influence the facilitation process.
  • Anticipate the participant cohorts they will encounter.
  • Explain how research fatigue can disproportionately affect traditionally marginalized or disadvantaged groups.
  • Frame the purpose of an event using language all participants will understand.
  • Choose ground rules that will help achieve a session’s goal.
  • Craft questions that do not lead, communicate conclusions, or pass judgments about a participant’s life choices or circumstances.
  • Develop an initial question bank for each anticipated cohort.

Segment One Modules

  • Your Lens: The Facilitator’s Assumptions, Values, and Attitudes
  • The People in the Room: Skills for Understanding Cohorts
  • The Rule Book: Norms and Behaviors
  • Adopting a Neutral Stance: Matters of Language
  • A Question Map: A Solid Plan but Not a Script

Segment Two Objectives

  • Leverage anchors, echoes, and loops to keep discussions on track and ensure understanding.
  • Facilitate accurate documentation when using a transcription service, scribe, or minute taker.
  • Maintain control of and balance group discussions.
  • Probe for additional information.
  • Confirm participants have finished sharing.
  • Recognize and avoid responses from a facilitator that could praise or criticize a participant’s narrative.
  • Use silence and pauses appropriately.
  • Move with ease when a conversation stalls.
  • Troubleshoot challenges associated with group dynamics.

Segment Two Modules

  • Anchor, Echo, Loop: Skills for Orienting and Ensuring Understanding
  • Who Said What and More: The Mechanics of Documenting Made Easier
  • From Modeling to Answer Stacking: A+ Practices
  • Tell Me More: Probes, Prompts, and Follow-Up Questions
  • Read the Room: Pauses, Silence, and Moving On
  • Troubleshooting: Skills for Solving Challenges

By the conclusion of this four-hour training program, participants should have a range of frameworks and tools at the ready to gather qualitative data in a group setting.