Focus Groups

What Is a Focus Group?

CHID Focus Groups are 2-credit classes offered under the course number CHID 496 and are graded on a credit/no credit basis. Unlike many other classes, which use an education framework of instruction by an expert (generally a professor), Focus Groups rely on peer learning within a facilitated, discussion-based classroom. They allow students with common interests to create a space to discuss topics which may not be covered elsewhere in the UW undergraduate curricula.

Focus Groups are not spaces for students to promote one particular point of view. While students can adopt one idea or concept, this topic should be explored from multiple vantage points. Focus Groups should not depart from CHID’s guiding philosophy that “the questions are the content;” they are about critical scrutiny, not about ideological imposition.

The Focus Group Experience

The Focus Group facilitator assists peer learning around a particular topic. Each facilitator will work with a faculty mentor (who must be UW faculty--no graduate students can act as mentors) who will support them in designing and facilitating their Focus Group. Focus Groups are a labor of love on the part of the facilitator and should also be a labor of love for the students participating in them. Because of this, the workload is often heavier than in other 2-credit classes.

Focus Group Credit Requirements

Focus Groups are graded on a credit/no credit basis. In order to receive credit, student-participants must complete all assignments satisfactorily and have two or less unexcused absences. Student-facilitators do not assign grades, but they are responsible for working with the CHID academic advisor and their faculty mentor to determine which participants have earned credit for the Focus Group.