Monday, November 2, 2015

ESS focus group assignment

You are assigned to complete a focus group interview with 4 to 5 fellow students. 

  1. Working in groups, identify a Resident Advisor from the list provided and set up an appointment for the focus group. The RA will help organize the members of the group from their floor or wing. No more than five students and no less than three should take part. The RA may be one of the participants.
  2. Conduct the focus group using the techniques already taught in class. Be sure to employ the Informed Consent script (see below for the script).
  3. Record the group using one of the several techniques/devices taught in class. If you wish to borrow professional transcribing equipment (with foot pedal operation) see the instructor.
  4. Make sure each member, including the RA gets one of the five gift certificates you were issued.
  5. Transcribe the recording, anonymizing as you go (student 1, student 2, etc). Make sure no student names are on the final transcript. 
  6. Check the transcript for accuracy, then erase the original recording.
  7. Hand in only the transcript, together with the names of all the ESS class members involved. This will be your second graded assignment in this class.
  8. The following are the focus group questions:
  • What is your major?
  • Can you describe the environment you grew up in? For example, was it rural, suburban, or urban?
  • What did you learn about the environment before college?
  • Can you describe your environmental values?
  • Which environmental issues concern you the most?
  • Do you think Unity College is “America’s Environmental College”?
Informed consent script:

(To be read out and handed to focus group members, and to appear on page one of the survey, with a check box “I have read and understand the informed consent form: yes/no”.)
You are invited to participate in a research project being conducted by Professor Womersley and the Fall 2015 Environmental Scenarios and Solutions class at UC. The purpose of the research is to measure the orientation and prevalence of certain environmental values and behaviors of UC students

What will you be asked to do?
If you decide to participate, you will be asked to answer questions in a focus group/on an Internet survey. It may take approximately (40/20 minutes) to complete.

Potential Risks
There is a possibility that you may become uncomfortable answering the questions.
If confidentiality is breached, there is potential for you to be judged by other Unity College community members because of any controversial statements you may say.

Focus groups: You will receive a $5 coupon for the SAC, a ticket for a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift certificate, and the satisfaction that you have contributed to the body of knowledge on this subject.

Survey: You will receive a ticket for a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift certificate, and the satisfaction that you have contributed to the body of knowledge on this subject.

Confidentiality and Data Security
This study is anonymous. Please do not state your name or write your name on the questionnaire. There will be no permanent records linking you to the data.

Your participation is voluntary. If you choose not to take part in this study, you may stop at any time (without loss of benefits, if applicable). You may skip any questions that you do not wish to answer.

Contact Information
If you have any questions about this study, please contact Dr. Mick Womersley, the Principal Investigator at If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant please contact Crista Straub, Chair pro tem of the UC Institutional Review Board (IRB) at

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