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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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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Democs (Deliberative meetings of citizens)

Democs is a conversation card game. Players get hands of cards and take turns to play them. But instead of playing to win, they are playing to learn about an important new issue and inform their opinions about it. A Democs game has five rounds with one person acting as the dealer. A kit is available, which is made up of several different types of cards with information, ideas or stories about the topic.  In rounds 1, 2 and 3, players get dealt different hands of cards which are read out and d...
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Deliberative mapping

Involves both experts (around 20) and members of the public (public panel-up to 40 people from varied backgrounds) and combines a variety of approaches to assess how these participants rate different policy options against a set of defined criteria. The public panels and the experts consider the issue both separately from one another and at a joint workshop. This allows both groups to learn from each other without the experts dominating. The emphasis of the process is not on integrating exper...
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Consensus conference

Consists of a panel of people (10-20 service users/carers taking part in their capacity as local people, not as professionals or specialists) who question expert witnesses on a particular topic. A distinctive feature is that the initiative lies with the people - they decide the key aspects of the debate, including choice of questions, selection of witnesses and formulate their own conclusions. Panels members receive a comprehensive information pack, developed by HSC staff, in advance (up to 2 we...
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Participatory strategic planning

The Participatory Strategic Planning process is a consensus-building approach. It helps a community come together in explaining how they would like their community or organisation to develop over the next few years, working in partnership with decision makers from the start. It consists of four stages: The community determines their vision for the future of the organisation or community; The community describe the obstacles that are preventing them from reaching their vision with decisio...
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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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