WP6 - Focus groups with pupils of secondary school


Coordination: 3S Research Laboratory - Forschungsverein, Austria


The group moderators will receive a prepared set of the main themes (starting-points) which will be identical for all countries and will later be used in international comparisons.


The purpose of conducting the focus groups is two-fold; first, to get a better insight into and a better understanding of the young people, and second, to use the findings of the focus groups in the development of the questionnaire which will be used in the quantitative study.


The focus groups will be conducted among different groups of secondary school pupils included in secondary education - those included in vocational education and training as well as pupils of general and technical secondary education. We also expect to conduct the focus groups according to various locations, i.e. metropolitan areas (higher SES, closer to an educational institution) and more rural areas (lower SES, a long commute to educational institutions).


With the focus groups, a deeper and detailed understanding of the young people's view of the education programmes will be obtained as well as their perception of education in the context of the working life. This will provide us with an insight into their perception of the work opportunities that their education (or their involvement in education programmes) would provide and of the strengths and the weaknesses of different education programmes. It will help us answer questions, such as: Do they recognize the need for lifelong learning? Are they aware of the work opportunities available to them in the EU region and what is their attitude towards these opportunities?


One of the important issues discussed will be the role of informers and advisors in the process of deciding about an education programme.


Four to six focus groups are expected to be conducted in each participating country. The participants will be aged 15 years and will be adequately representing different minorities, both genders, and SES. The focus groups will be carried out in each participating country.


To enable comparisons, the topics discussed will be the same for all countries.


Each partner will document their findings in a country report. Transcripts will be provided in the national languages on which summaries and main conclusions in English will be based.


6.1 Methodological approach

To make an international comparison possible, a focus groups methodology should be carefully developed. This includes selecting groups of participants, which should be the same in all countries (with respect to age, gender, education level, SES, location, etc.), as well as preparing a main set of themes (questions) which will be the same for all countries. 


6.2 Implementation of the focus groups at the national level

Four to six focus groups will be conducted in each country consisting of 8-12 participants. They will be moderated by experienced moderators who will encourage the communication between the participants. This method enables the researchers to examine different perspectives of the participants as they operate within a social network. For the purpose of writing transcripts, the focus groups will be tape recorded.


6.3 The focus groups final results obtained in seven EU countries

Each country will provide transcripts in their national language and a summary of conclusions in the English language. The focus groups findings will also be used in the development of the questionnaire destined for secondary school pupils.




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