In DiVa we are using Focus Group Interviews (FGI's) for including the assessments of a broad base of experts concerning the criteria for successful dissemination and exploitation.
While quantitative methods deliver results which can be statistically analyzed and easily interpreted, they are usually not very powerful in providing researchers with initial ideas in the explorative phase of a study. Qualitative methods and especially focus group interviews have proven to be very useful to do exactly that. A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting (preferably a round table) where participants are free to talk with other group members.
In the DiVa project we use focus group interviews to ask experts a number of questions, which need to be resolved before continuing our project activities. With these interviews we also aim to specifically analyze those criteria for successful dissemination and exploitation, which are most important for the involved interviewees and their respective fields.
The specific project relevant information delivered by the focus group interviews can be described as follows:
- Information which helps us to understand dissemination and exploitation
- Information which helps us to understand expert’s perceptions of criteria which are characteristic for successful dissemination and exploitation.
- Information which helps us to understand “cultural” differences (regional, national, institutional)
- Information which helps the local project coordinators to find good practice examples in their own region.
The results are included in the next research step – the ranking survey. As an additional advantage of the method, the country researchers conducting the interviews get a better insight into the mindset of the interviewees and a good feeling on how much they already know about the topic and in which way the next steps can be planned.
(Rupert Beinhauer, April 2010)