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Introduction to Focus Groups

January 23 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm


Introduction to Focus Groups

Focus group interviews are commonly used for survey development, content development, and qualitative data collection to capture rich information about attitudes and beliefs that affect behavior. An overview of the basics of focus groups supplemented with real examples and hands-on practice will highlight the most appropriate uses of focus groups, moderating focus groups, developing interview questions, analyzing and using results, as well as reporting findings.

This course will count as 7.0 CSS short course credits.


Instructors: Emily Geisen and Peyton Williams

Emily Geisen manages RTI International’s Cognitive/Usability Laboratory. She specializes in designing survey questionnaires to improve data quality and reduce respondent burden by employing best practices in questionnaire design and visual design. She has 15 years of experience conducting focus groups and other qualitative studies, developing and evaluating survey questionnaires, conducting usability studies, and designing methodological research studies. She is lead author of a book titled Usability Testing for Survey Research and has taught a short course on the same topic at conferences and organizations around the world. Ms. Geisen teaches a graduate course on questionnaire design at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She served on the executive council for American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) from 2017 to 2019 and is Editor of the journal Survey Practice. She received her MS in Survey Methodology from the University of Michigan and her BA from Mount Holyoke College.
Peyton Williams, MPH, is a research associate at RTI International in the Center for Communication Science. He has over 15 years’ experience as a focus group moderator, and is involved with all facets of qualitative data collection from moderator guide and screener generation, to conducting groups, and analyzing and reporting on findings. He has conducted focus groups with an array of audiences, such as physicians, youth, and vulnerable populations, and around a variety of topics including HIV, opioids, and nutrition. Clients he has worked for include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state health departments.


Join Waitlist.

Please Note: This course is now Full but there is a waitlist that will be open until January 20.

Registration Fees:

  • CSS Students – $40
  • UNC-CH Students – $65
  • Others – $90

Cancellation/ Refund Policy: A full refund will be given to those who cancel their registration no later than 10 days prior to the course. If you cancel within the 10 days prior to the class, no refund will be given. Please allow 30 days to receive your refund.
Waitlist/ Walk-ins: There may be a waitlist for the courses. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Each attendee must register and pay prior to 3 days before the start of the course.


January 23
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
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