Focus Group Times and Instructions
Step 2: Join Moms Focus Group



Teachers College, Columbia University
New York, New York


DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH: You are being asked to participate in a study being conducted through the Department of Health and Behavior Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. We want to learn more about what African American mothers’ think about the government’s Seasonal and 2009 H1N1 Flu Guidelines, and whether or not you are following them; this includes recommendations to have your children vaccinated. We want you to participate in an on-line focus group (i.e. a group chat hosted on a website) and to talk about what you know about the seasonal and H1N1 flu, how you feel about it, and what you have decided to do as a mother of children. You will be asked questions in a group chat with approximately 9 other mothers. The focus group/chat format allows you to type in your answers—while spelling and grammar does not count; instead, we are interested in your feeling free to express your beliefs and opinions. You can share freely without anyone knowing your identity; this occurs because you use a special e-mail account created just before the focus group/chat starts (e.g.,, etc…); you do not provide your name or any other information that can personally identify you. This keeps your identity anonymous and everything you share will remain confidential. There will be no way for the researchers to link your answers to you or your personal information. At the end of the focus group/chat, you will be sent a link to a brief 5-10 minute survey that will appear in your e-mail account that was created just for this study. This link will take you to questions about your background characteristics. We will examine the data for all the mothers (n=40) all together (aggregate data), and report the group’s average age, income, etc… This will allow us to describe the study group in formal reports, summarizing what we found through this study. We will share our findings with other health educators and public health professionals in an effort to represent your experience. This may lead, in the future, to health education and public health messages that are sensitive to your experiences and beliefs as African American mothers.

There are no anticipated risks to the participants in this study. However, it is possible that, during or after the focus group discussion/chat, you may become upset as you think about the impact of the flu. Although, we would encourage you to complete the survey, you can discontinue participation in this study at any time. Remember, you can always exit the focus group or chat, go offline, or delete the whole email entirely. If you become upset, as an Internet user, you may follow links to get more information or counseling or do any of the following: 1) go to
for information on the flu basics, prevention, treating the sick patient, links to free resources, and links to educational videos, etc…; 2) go to
for information about the flu at a website designed to empower minorities; or 3) if you have health insurance, you may want to receive a referral to see a health or mental health provider for counseling; or 4) perform a search by entering “free or affordable counseling services” and your city and state (i.e., to talk to a psychologist by phone, with the first five minutes being free); or 5) explore Complete Counseling Solutions via Again, we do not think that study participation will trigger so much pain that this is necessary, but we offer these suggestions as a precaution.

There are no payments associated with this study. But, you will have a 3 in 40 chance of winning a prize in our random drawing for a bar-coded gift certificate to (e.g., a $200 prize, $100 prize, or $50 prize). Once 40 people have completed the focus groups and final survey, a program will automatically send out gift certificates (bar coded to where you can purchase anything from clothing, to CDs, to books, to electronic equipment) to 3 randomly chosen e-mail accounts without in any way linking your identity to the survey results.

Since this is an online focus group and survey, actual names, addresses and phone numbers are not needed. For the survey, only aggregate (group) data will be utilized. The designers of the website have taken steps to ensure that all data will remain secure, private and confidential.

The focus group will take about 45-60 minutes, and the survey will take about 5-10 minutes. The total time for the study takes about 50-70 minutes, depending upon you and your other focus group participants (i.e. quantity of dialogue in the chat).

The results of the study will be used mainly for the purpose of health education, specifically to improve the dissemination of health related information to African American mothers. This information will also be used as dissertation data for the researcher’s doctorate degree in health education. The data will also be presented at public health meetings, published in journals and used for other educational purposes.

Thanks for your participation!

(Ed.D. Candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University)