One to one interview

A common qualitative research tool, one-on-one interviews are exactly what they sound like – in-depth interviews conducted one-on-one between an individual respondent and a professional qualitative researcher. This approach aids understanding and can capture supplementary information. They are also flexible and allow for structured, semi structured and even unstructured approaches. When to use an interview approach: Sensitive topics; Potential for bias; Confidential information;...
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Policy hack

Policy hacks are new way of bringing people together to share ideas and develop solutions to some of the most pressing social, economic and environmental problems. A policy hack borrows the techniques and ethos of the tech sector, apply them to a number of social policy topics and come up with solutions to key social, economic and environmental problems. People attending do not have to know anything about technology – it’s the approach that is being adapted not the topic or focus.   ...
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Focus group

A focus group refers to a ‘one off’, group interview or discussion where the focus is a particular area of interest. The discussion, using questions as prompts, is carefully planned and designed to obtain perceptions and experiences in a permissive, non-threatening environment. Focus groups will normally involve 8-10 participants. A number of groups may be held on the same subject area across wider geographical locations. A standard approach should be establish if more than focus group is to ...
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Formalised involvement on strategic groups

Individuals are recruited onto strategic groups to provide a service user and/or carer perspective on a particular subject. Their input is not representative of a wider community but acts as an ‘involvement conscience’ to the group. They can advise on how best to gain wider involvement from other stakeholders on key issues as required. Early involvement of individuals is recommended alongside: A comprehensive induction; Determine the need for training, and; Ongoing support. For ...
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Task and finish/Project group

These groups are established to consider a particular subject area in detail and are made up of a representative group. Such groups will normally have up to 12 members and will meet to assess service needs, identify local issues and determine the appropriateness of service developments. From which an action plan or a report will be developed. Task and finish groups are normally time bound according to the brief. After which some participants may go to be involved  at a strategic level. ...
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Panels

Panels are made up of people who have experience and/or knowledge of a particular subject. They are used when specialised input from service users, clients and/or carers opinions are required. A series of questions and prompts are prepared in advance which a trained facilitator will use to capture and learn about the panel’s experience/knowledge of the topic area. The panel will debate and discuss various courses of action. Small groups work best (8 -12) people. It is common for expert panels...
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Planning for real

This approach requires a 3D model of a local area to be developed for communities to add suggestions of how they would like to see their community develop. They then prioritise these in groups and create an action plan for decision-makers to take away. This approach requires a trained facilitator to extract participant's knowledge of living in the area and to make suggestions by placing cards directly on the model. These are both ready-made cards with comments/suggestions or blank cards for p...
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Future search

Future search is a planning meeting and a way for a community or organisation to create a shared vision for its future. The meeting is task focussed and works best when you want commitment from all stakeholders. It enrols a large group of stakeholders who are chosen because they have power, resources, information on the topic, expertise and are affected by the outcomes. It requires a ‘whole system’ in the room approach. Ideally there are between 60-80 people in one room or 100s in parallel rooms...
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Consensus building/dialogue

This approach is useful when there is a contentious issue or when you wish to build and improve relationships between diverse groups to reach a proactive consensus. It may incorporate a range of approaches which will have dialogue at its core. This is mainly conducted through workshops and meetings to help participants identify common ground and mutually beneficial solutions to a problem. Dialogue involves all stakeholders which must include people who have a concern about the outcome, includ...
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