IAF Methods

Creating a Focus Question

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
any 26 - 50

Clarifying the aim of a session and putting it into question form to be answered during the session.

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One of the important parts of getting a good brainstorm is setting it in context and doing the preparation. That can get you several valuable things. It can get you to a question that really makes sense. It can help you work out how to pose the question and how to get people brainstorming. It can lead you to determine what to do with the list of ideas generated.


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    Number of participants: 26-50


    Ask yourself and the sponsor several questions to discern the core question:
    - What is the topic? What are the key concerns surrounding this topic?
    - What has brought the group to this point? Real history
    - What product or results or kinds of responses do they want to get out of this exercise?
    - How will they use the results?
    - How do the people relate to the topic and to each other as they are dealing with that topic?
    - How knowledgeable are the participants? Do they have the resources and information they need?
    - What are the human, personal results that are needed? i.e.. Motivated to implement a project?

    Look at all that, even a quick intuitive look, and create a central focus question.

    To me, it is helpful if you can articulate a central question and a series of secondary questions that enable people to examine the central question from a number of perspectives. Then you can work on how to engage the group and how to process the results in a way that is related to a grounded view of the group, its situation and its needs.


    Source: Wayne Nelson

    Derived from: This was found in group facilitation listserve GRP-FACL

    History of Development: The Institute of Cultural Affairs has been using this approach since the 1970's. Wayne Nelson was an Associate of ICA Associates, Inc. Canada.

    Alternative names: Focus Question Workshop

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