Using Focus Groups to Assess Training Needs

An efficient method for gathering data on the learning needs of new supervisors is to form groups to discuss relevant needs. It is important to bear in mind that focus groups can be slippery—that is, they can go off track easily. Participants may begin to complain about “the system,” or they may want to talk about anything but their personal deficiencies as supervisors. That is why good facilitation is necessary for effective focus groups. Remember that when several participants are speaking rapidly, it is difficult to capture the data. We advise using stenographic services or audio recorders for that function.

The following step-by-step method is effective for adapting, preparing for, and conducting ...

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