Beneficios Colaterales: Grupos Focales como Grupos de Apoyo Social


Ricarose Roque

Ricarose Roque

Nota del Editor: Ricarose Roque (@ Ricarose) continúa el tema de este mes de la etnografía en la educación con una pieza encantadora sobre algunos resultados inesperados de los grupos de enfoque cualitativo que corría con grupos de padres como parte de su investigación. Ricarose es estudiante de doctorado en el Lifelong Kindergarten Group en el Laboratorio de Medios del MIT, donde trabaja con las familias en las comunidades que tienen acceso limitado a los recursos y el apoyo social en torno a la computación. Estamos muy contentos de tenerla como autor invitado en Materia Etnografía.


En el diseño de nuestros proyectos de investigación, sopesamos qué métodos pueden contribuir (o no contribuir) a nuestras preguntas de investigación, pero ¿cómo podrían estos métodos en beneficio del pueblo que estudiamos?

He encontrado un resultado sorprendente en una reciente serie de grupos de enfoque que realicé para comprender las percepciones de la informática de los padres en sus vidas y las vidas de sus hijos. Los padres juegan un papel importante en la ecología de aprendizaje de sus hijos, de alentar a sus hijos en el hogar de intermediación relaciones y recursos relevantes para los niños fuera de la casa. Como la tecnología prolifera a cada parte de nuestras vidas de la forma en que nos conectamos unos con otros sobre cómo podemos aprender, He estado interesado en cómo los padres están negociando uso de la tecnología con sus hijos, especialmente entre los padres que no tienen una historia o experiencia en informática e ingeniería. (Yo uso los padres vagamente aquí para referirse a cualquier cuidador adulto.) Solía ​​grupos de enfoque para entrevistar múltiples padres en un ambiente familiar (su centro comunitario local) y para aprovechar la dinámica de grupos para recoger las percepciones compartidas o puntos conflictivos.

En la hora y media que hemos compartido juntos, Me gustaría discutir con 3 a 5 los padres de su personal y el uso de los niños de la tecnología y su influencia en sus vidas. Y en el extremo de cada uno, Me di cuenta de que los padres parecían disfrutar de la experiencia. Ellos me dieron las gracias por organizar esto. Y luego se dieron las gracias mutuamente. Algunos sugirieron hacer "esto" de nuevo. Los padres intercambiaron información de contacto. Había una sensación de que pasamos por algo especial. Y yo sólo tenía sentido de lo que era a través de lecturas iterativos de las transcripciones.

padres

He encontrado que los padres conectados a través de su a veces abrumadora ansiedad alrededor de computación y cómo influyeron en la forma en que veían a sí mismos, sus hijos, y sus relaciones con sus hijos. Por ejemplo, coincidieron en que hay beneficios para el uso de computadoras y dispositivos móviles en sus vidas, pero al mismo tiempo, compartieron preguntas sobre lo que se estaba perdido o renunciado a su uso. Con los teléfonos celulares, podrían entrar en contacto con sus hijos de inmediato y en cualquier momento. Con Facebook, podían mantenerse en contacto con sus familiares que aún viven en los países que dejaron atrás. Pero cuando alguien crece con la comunicación hecha a través de medios y las interacciones mediadas a través de dispositivos basados ​​en texto, ¿cómo se conectan con la gente emocionalmente y profundamente en la vida real? ¿Cómo desarrollar su sentido de lo correcto y lo incorrecto? Una madre le preguntó acerca de la tecnología: “Cómo — ni siquiera en qué se le beneficia — ¿cómo se benefician otras personas? ¿De qué manera lo que haces [con la tecnología] ayudar a otra persona?”

Por cada pregunta que hice, padres iluminan sus respuestas con historias. Un papá compartió su decepción por cómo la tecnología ha complicado la lectura con su hijo, e incluso lo reemplazó como socio de lectura de su hijo.

Le diste en una palabra [en una aplicación de lectura iPad] y dice la palabra para usted. Yo estaba un poco ofendido, Yo pensaba que iba a ser un gran lector para ellos, pero prefiere tener la, cualquiera que sea la persona que había sido pagado por la compañía para leer a ellos, que todavía estoy amargado por.

Other parents would hear these stories and add their own, sometimes validating their shared experiences by saying they experienced the same thing. “I know how you feel.” Another parent shared a story of how homework time has changed in her household.

We were taught that you come home, you sit at the table, your parents — somebody did their homework with you. So you’ve got that physical doing it, not computer actually teaching you, or sitting in front of a television, just being raised by the television or the computer.

Parents tried to make sense of their stories together. Por ejemplo, after noticing how much his son played with Garage Band on his iPad, one dad offered to take him to a class offered at a local community center. Sin embargo, to his surprise, his son resisted.

I was surprised when I said let’s go to a Garage Band class at the tech center, he was like, “I don’t really like Garage Band.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” And he was like, “I like Garage Band on my iPad.” And I think it’s because there’s not much reading involved [in the Garage Band iPad app].

This father believed that his son preferred using Garage Band on the iPad over a personal computer because there would be less reading involved in the iPad app’s user interface. Earlier in the focus group, he shared that he’s been trying to help develop his son’s reading abilities. Sin embargo, another mother in the group offered an alternative perspective on his son’s reasoning:

I just think being where everyone is speaking English – like you said he can’t read – that’s intimidating. . . . he’s more comfortable with the iPad. It can’t talk back. I mean it can talk back, but you know what I mean? It’s not so intense. It’s not a human with eyes, expecting a response that’s correct or incorrect.

In this exchange, another mother in the focus group was able to extend a father’s explanation to include social factors — generating new understandings of his son’s reaction.

The focus group became a place to share stories, gain validation about their experiences, and connect with each other at personal and emotional levels. In the time that we shared together, the focus group transformed into support group. This was an unexpected outcome. Cavé en la literatura de investigación de grupos focales para entender mejor la historia del formato. A través de sus grupos de enfoque con sobrevivientes del huracán Katrina y la segunda generación de musulmanes estadounidenses después 9/11, Peek y Fothergill (2009) formas que se encuentran en el cual el formato de grupo de enfoque puede servir como una forma de apoyo social o el empoderamiento de las personas que han sido marginados o víctimas. Investigadores feministas como Sue Wilkinson (1998) argumentan que el formato de grupo de enfoque puede cambiar el poder del investigador a los participantes, puede producir más rico, datos interactivos, y proporcionar oportunidades para los participantes a co-construir significado.

En mi investigación, He encontrado que los padres se sienten desplazados y aislados en actividades tradicionalmente apoyado por la familia. Encontraron a otros padres que validaron sus experiencias, identificó con sus ansiedades, and supported one another.

In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle writes:

Technology presents itself as a one-way street; we are likely to dismiss discontents about its direction because we read them as growing out of nostalgia or a Luddite impulse or as simply in vain. But when we ask what we “miss,” we may discover what we care about, what we believe to be worth protecting. We prepare ourselves not necessarily to reject technology but to shape it in ways that we honor what we hold dear.

Together these parents were surfacing what they held dear and what they wanted for their children and their relationships with them. The group began by telling what they saw as isolated, personal stories and ended up seeing the connections across their lives, transforming the personal to collective questions and issues.

familia

This was my first time using the focus group format. I had concerns about some parents dominating the conversation and the more reticent parents not being heard. I worried about the authenticity of what parents said, wondering if it was influenced by what someone else had said before. Sin embargo, when I was considering the format, these concerns were outweighed by being able to test recruitment methods and potential questions and gathering multiple and shared perspectives.

And after conducting these focus groups, I did see some of these concerns realized. Some parents talked more than others and there was almost too much agreement among them. I responded to such instances by speaking directly to more reticent parents when others spoke too much and encouraging parents to share alternative viewpoints whenever one viewpoint began to dominate.

What emerged from these focus groups was surprising to me and powerful for the parents who attended. In hearing some parents talk about their anxieties and share their vulnerabilities, other parents felt more comfortable sharing their own experiences. And in doing so, they found a sense of validation and connection among the other parents over their experiences with technology — connections they were not experiencing with their children, whose tech-savviness often left their parents feeling awe-struck and less competent.

When deciding on our research methods, nosotros, como investigadores, often wonder what works and what doesn’t. We also consider what risks could arise among the people we study, but it is also valuable to consider what collateral benefits our methods can have. And as participants experience these benefits, how do such experiences contribute back to the research? In your research projects, what collateral benefits have you found? Y lo que, if anything, grew out of these benefits for participants? I came into the focus group wanting to understand parents perceptions of computing’s relevance in their lives and their children’s lives. Asombrosamente, parents used the focus group as a support group to make sense of their own relevance in their children’s lives, as computing devices permeated their family activities.

Trabajos citados

Peek, L., & Fothergill, La. (2009). Using focus groups: lessons from studying daycare centers, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. Investigación Cualitativa, 9(1), 31-59.

Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Nueva York: Basic Books.

Wilkinson, S. (1998). Focus groups in feminist research: Power, interaction, and the co-construction of meaning. Women’s Studies International Forum, 21(1), 111–125.

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3 Las respuestas a las “Beneficios Colaterales: Grupos Focales como Grupos de Apoyo Social”

  1. Julio 23, 2013 en 2:18 pm #

    Fine essay. Long ago when the focus group craze was accelerating I took a job running several for drug treatment programs around the U.S. The trick I learned was to get the program director and staff to moderate and take notes. The content was lightweight but the staff usually had an epiphany that ethnographers often aim for in their audience that “good lord, ‘these people’ are complicated and interesting and ariculate and I had no idea … etc.” At least in the short term it opened some channels across the power canyon, “phatic” Malinowski called it. Then later a Central American colleague and I ran some “focus groups” among people to try and learn program design for drug/alcohol treatment. We said in our report that it was “more Saul Alinsky than Margaret Mead,” which cracked younger colleagues up because the reference to the old Chicago community organizer was so dated. De nuevo, content was lightweight, but the groups brought people from the communities together who wanted to do something. I don’t think you learn too much from focus groups, a few exceptions maybe for “focused” questions locally acceptable to dispute in public discourse among group participants who are strangers, but I came to appreciate the political functions they could serve in applied work.

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