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Chapter 7

📣 Story analyst recruitment

🔖 Define what type of focus group participant (story analyst) you’re looking for and how many you need (aim for 6-8 participants per focus group). They should come from the same community where the stories were collected. Determine inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Note: People who are story analysts don’t need to have previous qualitative research or focus- group experience. You should recruit story analysts based on their identity as part of the community of focus, who did not submit a story but could thoughtfully discuss and comment on submitted stories.

🧑‍💻 Recruit focus group participants in one of three ways:

  1. Advertise for participants: You can post ads in social media spaces or on online bulletin boards, or in person at places where your community of focus gathers (e.g., community centers, libraries, houses of worship). You can also ask for partner organizations to share the call for participants, via their mailing lists and social media presences.

➕ Benefits: Can yield a more diverse participant pool, especially those not reachable online or not affiliated with partners.

➖ Potential pitfalls: Can be costly if paying for advertisement, and might attract people who are not eligible to participate.

  1. Snowball approach: If you have a previously identified group of people who meet the participant profile, you can ask them to recommend others in their network to participate.

➕ Benefits: Can help you identify potential participants from smaller or more close-knit groups, such as religious communities or support groups for people with a specific health condition, and because the recommendation comes from a trusted messenger, likelihood of participation may be higher than trying to cold-call potential participants.

➖ Potential pitfalls: If the profile of participants you’re seeking to involve is marginalized, stigmatized, or has been subject to systemic trauma, take extra care to navigate communications with sensitivity so you don’t cause unintended harm. Additionally, people with disabilities such as vision or hearing impairment may need accommodation; this should be planned for. Seek expert advice as appropriate.

  1. Connect with representative organizations for nominations: Work through your public health and community partner organizations to extend the invitation to participate through their networks.

➕ Benefits: Higher likelihood of identifying participants who fit the desired profile.

➖ Potential pitfalls: Participants will only be from audiences organizations already have and you might miss out on other perspectives.

🪑 Host a project overview meeting. Outline expected participant contributions, answer remaining questions and obtain informed consent from all participants. Log all this information, including participant names, phone numbers and email addresses, whether informed consent has been obtained, and assigned focus group session.

📝 Assign participants stories to read before the focus group (no more than 2-3 per person). Update participant log with this information.

Visit the resources page for templates, tools, and more.
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