Overview of the workshop
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This manual has been designed to help facilitators run workshops with small groups (between 10 and 16 participants). We think this size is ideal: it is not so small that there's no opportunity for mutual learning, nor so large that it is hard for every participant to make contributions to discussions. In addition, in some sessions (Semi-structured interviews, Ethnographic fieldwork, for example) facilitators should give individual feedback to participants, for example on interviewing styles and on fieldnote writing styles. This means that there should be at least two facilitators who are familiar with the whole course (though they do not necessarily have to attend every session). In our experience, we found the presence of three or four facilitators was better than relying on only two.
Try to find a room that can easily accommodate all the participants in a circular or U-shaped configuration. We would strongly discourage a lecture style lay out. It would be useful to have spaces (small rooms, or simply open spaces or various corners in a bigger room) that can allow for ‘break out’ discussions. These break-out spaces would ideally be used to help participants to work on a task in smaller sub-groups.
Most sessions will benefit from a flip-chart, or failing that a blackboard or a whiteboard (with good clear pens) as well as a computer and data projector and white screen. If you can also tear off flip-chart pages and put them up around the room for the duration of the workshop, that will help to reinforce some messages.
This manual has been designed to support a 7-day workshop, with multiple sessions suggested for each day (even then at times we found ourselves ‘rushing’ through things). Depending on your needs and circumstances, the workshop might be best timetabled with some “time off” for the participants to move into the ‘real world’ to try out some of the skills that have been discussed in the sessions. For example, a whole day would be needed for a fieldwork task to be carried out, for notes to be written up and made available for discussion. In such a scenario, the task could be done over Saturday, notes etc written over Sat-Sun., which would then be available for discussion on the Monday. Another way of running the training might be on the basis of one day a week, over about 2 months.
Below we suggest a particular structure for a 7-day workshop, but we would encourage you to experiment with different sequences. We think that the sessions on 'Getting Started' and 'Qualitative Research' must come at the beginning, and the session on evaluation obviously comes at the end (though, in this session we have also suggested some daily evaluation activities you might like to run, so it is worth considering this session as you are planning your workshop). The intervening sessions of the workshop could be combined in different ways. You may also wish to leave out some sessions, to give others more or less time than we suggest, or introduce new topics and sessions of your own.
All the information that we have provided in this manual is open access and we encourage you to use and adapt these materials in ways that you think are most beneficial for the needs of your team/participants. We would however encourage you to share with us the kind of adaptations you have made, things you found useful or not so useful. Your experiences will contribute immensely to better learning for all the others who are engaged in similar efforts.
This sample timetable is also available on Overview Handout:
Singal, N., and Jeffery, R. (2008). Qualitative Research Skills Workshop: A Facilitator's Reference Manual, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/RECOUP, Cambridge: RECOUP (Research Consortium on Educational Outcomes and Poverty, http://recoup.educ.cam.ac.uk/). CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. (original page)