What is a focus group discussion?
A focus group discussion is a type of research interview conducted in a group setting, with a specific focus or topic. Focus group discussions are usually carried out with between six and ten participants who have something in common (that they are all students, for example) and the discussion is led by a researcher who asks the participants questions about specific topics. The discussion is often recorded and then analysed, to gain a deeper understanding of the participants’ experiences and views regarding the specific topic. Because focus groups have a number of participants, it gives an opportunity to explore how the participants’ views on the topic differ and how they interact when the topic is discussed.
Tellus’ focus group discussions will last approximately 1,5 hour and consist of 6-9 participants per group.
I received an invitation to the interview study on sexual harassment and an invitation to the focus group study on sexual harassment. What is the difference?
For the individual interview study we are interested in interviewing employees, students or doctoral students who have either witnessed sexual harassment, been exposed to sexual harassment, exposed someone else to sexual harassment or behaved in a manner that felt inappropriate afterwards. No personal experience of sexual harassment is needed in order to participate in the focus group discussions.
How do I sign up for a focus group discussion?
An invitation was sent out via email to all students, doctoral students and employees in December 2018. If you haven’t received this email it is available here. This email also contains information on how to express interest in participating in the interview study.
Who is invited to participate in the focus group study?
All employees, students and doctoral students at Lund University are invited to participate in the focus group study. The group discussions will focus on how participants perceive the work and study environment in relation to sexual harassment. You do not need to have personal experience of sexual harassment in order to participate.
Why do the focus groups also target people who don’t have experience of harassment?
We are interested in getting a broad understanding of how students, doctoral students and employees perceive the work and study environment at Lund University. For example, how existing norms and structures are viewed in relation to sexual harassment. We are also interested in participants’ reflections of Lund University’s existing preventative work, needs for improvement and suggestions of how it can be strengthened. This is why the group discussions are for everyone – regardless of background and previous experience.
Which questions will the group discussions focus on?
The group discussions will focus on how the participants perceive the work and study environment at Lund University in relation to sexual harassment. Examples of questions that will be discussed are: how participants experience the climate of dialogue in the workplace, how organisational culture can affect or prevent sexual harassment and participants’ views of how Lund University’s preventative efforts should be prioritised.
I have personal experience of sexual harassment. Do I have to talk about this if I participate in a group discussion?
No. The purpose of the group discussions is to discuss the work and study environment, not personal experience of harassment. Participants will be encouraged not to share details of personal experiences of harassment.
If you have personal experience of sexual harassment that you would like to share then you can still sign up for the Tellus interview study.
Can I find out beforehand who is going to be leading the discussion group and who the other participants are?
When you have signed up for the focus group study we will contact you with a suggestion of time slots and the name of the researcher who will be leading the group discussion. If you don’t want to participate in a discussion led by this particular researcher you will get new suggestions of time slots with a different researcher. You don’t have to explain why you want to change groups.
We cannot give out the names of the other participants in the group, but employees in a managment position will be divided into a separate group. This is to avoid an employee participating in the same group as their boss.
During the focus group discussions, all participants will be asked not to share the discussions held in the group outside of the group. Due to the fact that we cannot give out the names of the other participants, we cannot guarantee that there won’t be someone in the group that you have a work or study relationship with. If a situation arises where you are not comfortable discussing something with one of the other participants in the group then you have the right to stop your participation at any time, without explaining why.
What will my participation in the study lead to?
Your participation in the study will contribute to the strengthening of Lund University’s preventative work against sexual harassment.
The results from the interview study and the focus group study will be used to develop a university-wide survey which will be sent out during 2019. The results from the survey will then be used as a basis for proposed measures, which will then be implemented, followed up and evaluated.
My colleagues/classmates have received an invitation to the focus group study. Why haven’t I received one?
An invitation was sent out via email to all students, doctoral students and employees in November 2018. If you were registered or employed later then you may not have received the invitation. If you have not received the email, or if you accidentally deleted it, you can read it here. It also contains information on how to express your interest in participating in the interview study.