The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4190.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 2:54 PM

Abstract #72717

Focus groups as a method for accessing stakeholder voice

Susan E. Caverly, PhD, ARNP, Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing, University of Washington, Box # 357263, Seattle, WA 98195-7263, 206-369-3068,

This paper presents the secondary analysis of a series of thirty focus groups addressing public sector community mental health services. The purpose of the secondary analysis was to explore the potential use of focus groups to access stakeholder voice in the public sector community mental health system. The intent was to evaluate whether data derived from focus groups can be construed as a valid indicator of public opinion as opposed to special interest opinion. If so, focus groups represent an efficient and cost-effective method for advising public health policymakers. The citizenry is the ultimate customer and funder of public sector health services, decision makers must understand the needs, priorities and expectations of these stakeholders. Creating a situation of "ideal speech" promotes opportunity for social justice and involvement in the policy process.

Using Atlas.ti, focus groups from three geographic sites and four constituencies were analyzed for thematic content. Data was compared for patterns of consistency within and across localities and constituencies. The number of focus groups conducted by the same moderator using the same topical guide made this analysis possible. The results supported focus groups as a trustworthy research method when the procedure for convening, conducting, and analyzing the groups is clearly developed and consistently applied.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Methodological Techniques and Tools Utilized in Health Care Planning, Policy Development and Evaluation - III

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA