We do full transcription focus groups (see our focus group archive for examples)
We transcribe every word, hurray, clap and laugh of the focus group and then we translate all into English or French so that donors and clients who do not speak Kreyol or who may not even be in Haiti can hear first-hand what beneficiaries have to say. Sociodig has an excellent team of native Haitian speakers who transcribe the recorded focus groups into text. If a translation is requested in English, we use a team of four US-educated translators, three with graduate degrees in Anthropology, the fourth member with a Master’s in Sustainable Development. All four have done graduate course work in semantics as well as Haitian Kreyol and each of the four has a minimum of seven years studying and working with impoverished Haitians.
Getting What You Need
The trick with the focus groups and the transcriptions is to conduct two to three times the number of focus groups the client has commissioned so that we're sure to get the quality discussions that cover all the issues of interest. Sociodig then transcribes and translates those focus groups most representative of the participants' opinions.
It is also critical that the translators understand more than simply the Kreyol language. The translator must understand the meaning behind the idioms and expressions.
Voices of the Beneficiaries
In the end, what we produce are texts that can stand alone. The client receives full original texts that typically run 15,000 to 25,000 words. These texts can be shared with others and will remain as records for future studies. The texts can also be mined for representative quotes that can be used in reports, shared with donors or put on websites. But that's not all.
Transcripts Re-Organized by Topic
Sociodig combines all the focus group texts into a single document organized and indexed by the focus group topics and any unanticipated category that emerged during the focus groups.
Concise Summary Report
From the re-organized focus group transcripts, Sociodig prepares a final report that is an analytic summary of the opinions of the focus group discussants. The conclusion for each topic is supported by a selection of representative quotes from the focus group participants.
Preparation and Vetting of Survey Questionnaires
Sociodig encourages clients who do surveys to use the focus groups as a means of preparing for the survey and also a means of creating a participatory research process whereby we involve in the research process the people we are studying and ultimately attempting to help.
We also encourage clients to add what we call validation, a type of post-research focus group where we give a presentation to the beneficiaries. The presentation is assembled in a highly graphic animated PowerPoint presentation. Using a high-density projector, portable video screen, and super-quiet generator. We then take the presentation to the field and share it with beneficiaries.
Validation not only completes the participatory process, but it also allows us to get feedback from beneficiaries thereby rectifying any misinterpretations of the data collected during the survey. In summary, the objective is to share what we've learned with the people beneficiaries – making it a true type of participatory research – and giving the beneficiaries the opportunity to correct any erroneous we might make.