Role of the Focus Group Facilitator

The facilitator is responsible for ensuring all prepared questions are adequately covered within the time allotted.
A facilitator has the responsibility to ensure that all participants contribution to the discussion and fully explain their views.
An effective facilitator paraphrases ambiguous statements for the purpose of clarification and to ensure that comments are understood by notetakers and other participants.
An effective facilitator summarizes long and/or complex comments.
An effective facilitator must be perceived to be neutral and impartial, and does not side with one or more participants, does not agree or disagree with the substance of participants’ remarks, does not praise or dismiss any participants’ remarks, does not show their approval or disapproval through facial expressions, body language, sounds or words.
An effective facilitator deals with challenging participants and group dynamics diplomatically. Most importantly the facilitator ensures that all participants talk about the same length of time and about the same number of times.
You may use the final presidential debate on Oct. 22 (available in full on youtube) and identify when and how a facilitator might have employed each these skills.

Required Reading Materials:

Bens, I. (2012). Facilitating with ease! core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants, and trainers. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: The Jossey-Bass.

Schuman, S. (Ed.). (2005). The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation: Best Practices From the Leading Organization in Facilitation. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Saunders, (1999) A Public Peace Process. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

 

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