Conducting focus groups in diverse population

We conducted focus groups in June, 2007 and July,
2007. Each focus group lasted approximately 2 h. Both
focus groups were moderated by a person with extensive
experience in conducting focus groups in diverse population such as White, Hispanic, Asian, youth, and women.
There was a note taker who was trained to take careful and
systematic notes. Data were collected in the evenings to
accommodate participants’ work schedules and at places
where participants felt comfortable. Focus groups were
conducted in English since all participants spoke English
fluently. Participants were either 1.5 or 2nd generation.
We received a signed informed consent form from each
participant before the focus group. We assure them that
their participation was voluntary, their identity would not
be revealed, and that the whole session was going to be
recorded. We also distributed a short survey to collect
demographic information such as age, gender, zip code,
religion, education, employment status, marital status,
family income, and health insurance status. At the end of
the focus groups, we provided them with a blank paper
asking them to write anything that they wanted to say, but
they did/could not say publicly, in case they wanted to
share private or sensitive information.
Data Analysis
The entire focus group sessions were transcribed immediately after each focus group and compared with notes as
needed to assure completeness of data. The research team
met after each focus group and reviewed each procedure.
After everything was transcribed, transcripts of the focus
groups were analyzed by coding emergent themes. These
emergent themes were organized by major categories that
were identified during the analysis: prevalence of mental
health problems among Asian American youths in their
communities, definition/perception of mental health,
potential sources of stress that affect mental health, mental
health help seeking behavior, and recommendations for
future program development. We used Max QDA 2007, a
qualitative data software, to code the focus group conversation and organize the data for analysis. Once the drafts
were written, everyone in research team reviewed and
commented on the report. We circulated them to participants of focus groups for their feedback.

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