By conducting a peer led focus group the interaction between the participants allows for sharing of stories and experiences and opens up the lines for a deeper, more meaningful discussion. Instead of the participants directing their responses to questions and statements asked of the researcher to the researcher, participants will be able to converse with one another. The researcher will still be a part of the focus group, but his role will not be as prominent as it would be in a traditional style focus group. Instead, the researcher will observe, take notes and steer the group in the right direction if they start to discuss other topics which are not a part of the study.
Because this research deals with the dynamics of welfare recipients as opposed to how many people are on welfare, a qualitative approach is best. The only information that could be dealt with quantitatively in this study would be the number of participants and the number of male and female participants. Since this is not the focus of the study only a small portion of the information received will be dealt with quantitatively. There are several different types of quantitative research methods. The anonymous survey, one on one interviews, an ethnographic study and a peer led focus group will be used.
The anonymous survey will be used because this is assumed the area where participants will be the most honest and forthcoming. No one will know how they answered each question on the survey, so they should feel comfortable answering as truthfully and honestly as possible. The one on one interview will serve as a supplement to the surveys. It is here that the participant may wish to expand on one of the questions asked in the survey or offer up new information for the researcher to document. The ethnographic study will help the researcher present research findings to the group and get their reaction to those questions and statements.
The peer led focus group promises to provide the most truthful information because it will allow the participants to actively engage with one another with the researcher only serving to reign anyone in who strays too far from the topic at hand.
Since this research will not focus on any minority groups, it is hoped that new information will be discovered. There is hardly enough research done on whites who are on welfare, so this study should open up various avenues for further research on the topic and this particular group of people. Hopefully, any new information discovered will lead to better designed programs to move individuals from welfare to work successfully.
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