Community Assessment

Interviews and Focus Groups

a dad holds his son in his arms
  • Will you take handwritten notes or record your conversations?
    Recordings are useful if you want to include quotes from participants in the community assessment report, but it will take time to review them. Some people may not participate openly because they do not want a recording made of what they have said. Remind them that the information you gather is confidential. Software can now record and transcribe notes at the same time. But if they prefer not to be recorded, take notes instead.
  • How long will an interview take?
    Before interviews, tell participants how much time you may need. Most people begin to tire and lose interest after an hour of being interviewed in person or after 15 minutes on the phone.
  • Will you ask the same questions of all the respondents? Or, will you ask the same general guiding questions and then follow up depending on what the respondents say?
    The latter approach enables you to collect comparable information while allowing more freedom and adaptability in how you obtain that information from different respondents. If the questions differ too much from one person to the next, however, it will be much harder to analyze and compare the answers.