In June and July of 1994, focus groups were carried out in each site targeted by the KDICP to inform the questionnaire, as well as to provide information on the content of conversations within social networks.
Two focus groups were conducted in each site, together with a focus group of CBD workers in Obisa and an (attempted) focus group of those who disapproved of family planning in Wakula South. Please contact us if you are interested in reading the transcripts of the focus groups.
The most serious mistake identified in the focus groups was in the procedure for selecting the respondents. The study director asked the chief or subchief, in person as well as in a follow-up letter, to collect all eligible women on the first day the team would be in the site; eligible women were defined as married women, with no more than a primary education, ages 20-40. The intention was then to select randomly the participants to the focus groups from these women. However, the chief/subchief called only a small number of women. A rough comparison of the women who came to the focus groups with those chosen systematically for the qualitative interviews suggested that the chiefs selected their most “presentable” women (i.e. who had more than a primary education and were users of family planning) and their relatives. Thus, the attitudes expressed in the focus group about family planning are likely to be disproportionately favorable. Our attempts to form a focus group of those who disapproved of family planning were unsuccessful. Our impression from projects conducted by others is that the choice of focus groups respondents is often delegated to a local person of importance and is not random. Thus, it maybe that focus groups in general are rarely representative of community views.
The focus groups were taped and simultaneously transcribed and translated by the moderator and note-taker, and immediately typed. An a priori coding scheme was developed by Susan C. Watkins and Naomi Rutenberg to code the interviews for analysis.