We have lately performed three focus group sessions with our target group members in South Holland, which was composed of two groups, the first group of six parents, and the second group of six of their children.
Through a small “snowball sample” we requested these groups to participate in the studies. Our snowball sample started with a contact who participates in the school board, a youth centre and in a website for the local community.
The first focus group session included the six parents only. We introduced them to our project, research, and explained the aim of our user studies. To stimulate discussion, we displayed a few usage scenarios and design claims (i.e. claims about a few positive and negative effects within our scenarios) then asked the participants to rate to what extent they agree with our claims. See slides at the end of this post. This was the session when we provided the parents with the cultural probes kits.
The second session (three weeks later) included the same group as the first session. The parents brought back the material they (along with their children) collected during that period using the cultural probes kit, and then proceeded (individually) to describe the data (e.g., pictures, map highlights, etc.) they collected with their kits. This process stimulated the discussion for a further 45 minutes in which many of the parents and their children’s life issues, values, and concerns were raised.
The third session included the six children only. The ages of the children ranged between six and eight years old. That session was led by an experienced elementary school teacher, and consisted of a discussion where the teacher asked the children a number of open ended questions related to their knowledge and usage of current technology, what activities they are allowed to do, how they connect with other children at school, sport clubs, and other places.
All sessions were audio-taped.