Last month I shared The World Cafe as an activity you can use to engage participants outside of traditional means of collecting data. Today, let’s look at one activity you can use to guide participants in making sense of it all and drawing their own conclusions.
“Rolling the dice” usually means “let’s see what happens”. For this activity, it takes on a whole new meaning.
(Though technically, “making sense of it all and drawing your own conclusions” could also mean “seeing what happens”, but humor me for a bit.)
Here’s what you need
- Two boxes that are roughly the same size
- 12 sheets of paper
- A marker
- Tape recorder
Ways to use this activity
I’ve used this activity in two ways: facilitating focus groups and data interpretation meetings.
Focus groups are generally used to gather feedback, and I’ve been asked to facilitate them as part of a program’s evaluation. In this context, each side of the die represents an evaluation question posed to the focus group.
In the context of a data interpretation meeting (also known as a “data party”), each side of the die either illustrates a piece of quantitive data (such as percentages from a survey or a report connected to the evaluation) or a piece of qualitative data (such as themes identified and coded from transcribing responses from a focus group). In simplest terms, coding identifies themes occurring across focus groups, informant interviews, observation notes, etc. With coding you can identify overarching themes as well as themes specific to the group or people in question, and this can be illustrated as a quote, percentage, etc.
Let’s create our dice
- Take one sheet of paper
- For a focus group: Write out an evaluation question you want to pose to the group
- For a data party: Write out a theme you coded
- tape the sheet of paper to one side of a die
- Repeat for each side until all sides are covered
And that’s it.
Now, let’s see this in action
February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month , and you’re evaluating a 6 week program that recently ended on healthy relationships for teens. The participants have completed a post-intervention survey to share feedback on program improvement and what they’ve learned.
You’re facilitating two focus groups of teens who completed the program. You have your ginormous dice. One die is covered with evaluation questions created by you and stakeholders associated with the evaluation. The other is covered in easy to understand data visualization, including percentages and charts.
In both focus groups, participates take turns “rolling the dice” and reading the data or evaluation questions aloud. As a group, participants either answer the evaluation question or interpret the data they’ve been given. Using your tape recorder, you record the facilitation of the process. After both focus groups are completed, transcribe the recordings and code them to identify similarities and differences between each group in how they responded to the question or interpreted the data.
Now it’s time for the data party, and you’re meeting with the program director, program facilitator, and two program participants. By this time, you’ve covered the dice with quotes representing themes across focus group and specific to each group. Some sides of each die can also include data visualization from the post-intervention survey.
Data party participants take turns “rolling the dice” and reading the quotes or visualized data aloud. Since each person is representing of a type of program stakeholder, lead the discussion by encouraging participants to share their interpretation based on their role within the program.
According to Love Is Respect, one in three teens in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, higher than other types of youth violence. During both focus groups, you identified that participants expressed uncertainty in recognizing the warning signs of dating abuse.
How does this translate to each stakeholder? For a program facilitator, this can mean reviewing the program’s module on identifying behavioral patterns typically used to exert power and control. How can this module’s activities be strengthened? For a program participant, this can mean recognizing the high rate of dating abuse among teens as well as wanting a deeper understanding in what dating abuse looks like. Is it only in person, through text, or via social media? For a program director, this can mean revisiting the goals and objectives of the program. If a goal is to reduce the number of participants in abusive dating relationships, should the program target teens known to be in abusive relationships, teens with a history of abuse, teens with no known history of dating abuse or all of the above? Getting the perspective of different stakeholders allows them to generate a variety of solutions.
Using this activity can help generate more buy-in and also shows that you don’t have to adhere to the status quo to get good feedback. Try this activity and let me know how it goes.