Focus Groups

Focus GroupsFocus groups oversampled for historically marginalized communities as a way to disrupt current pathways that have privileged dominant groups and to amplify the experiences of marginalized communities in Cambridge. There were 16 focus groups total and interviews were also held with district administrators.

“The intent of focus groups is not to infer but to understand, not to generalize but to determine the range, not to make statements about population but to provide insights about how people perceive a situation” (Kreuger, 1998).

Focus groups grappled with these questions:
  • What are some of the areas of inequity that you have noticed or experienced?
  • What makes those areas of inequity important to you?
  • What do you believe are the root causes of inequity in the Cambridge Public Schools?
  • What recommendations or suggestions would you make to address these root causes of inequity?

16 Member Organizers, 13 Family Organizers and 4 Youth Organizers were engaged to recruit parents/caregivers, youth and CPS educators to focus groups. Organizers represent a variety of segments of the Cambridge Community.

Accessibility: Lowering the Barrier to Entry
Child care, translation services, as well as dinner/snacks during the focus group sessions with advanced notice. Thoughtful about times and locations.

View Findings
What People are Saying About This Experience

"I was nervous at first, because she kept saying this was going to an open conversation and I didn't know what to say. But once we got going, it was alright. I think she should have asked us if we had every tried to address our concerns and what happened. People have a lot to say, but sometimes they just complain and don't do anything about it. Then it's on us. But if they have been trying to communicate the problem and still its bad, then it's on the system. They ask for our feedback but then don't do anything to change it."

"I think she got people to talk. I think the questions hit sensitive areas. People responded well because she asked them in everyday language."

"Some people didn't talk until the end, when she asked people to talk if they hadn't yet. And then we got into some good conversations so I think she should have done that sooner. I also think small groups might have helped because we had a few people who didn't speak much english and they didn't talk much. Maybe we could have had some language groups so they could participate more."
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