RECOMMENTADIONS PREPARATION AND CONDUCTION OF FOCUS GROUPS EU-PROTECT

 

I. INTRODUCTION

The choice of the focus group method to collect information in the “Security Personnel Online Training in Detecting Risky and Deceptive Behavior“ project is driven by the need for understanding in depth the problems and the needs of security personnel of a specialized training in the context and with the focus of our project.

This qualitative method for testing ensures encompassing a wider range of professional working in diverse levels in the security field. Open dialogue, sharing end exchanging experience, problems and needs of the participants, during the focus group, will assist the development of innovative ideas, formulating specific topics and areas of practical implementation of the specialized online training – the aim of the project.

Both focus groups which will be executed from M2 to M4 of the project “Security Personnel Online Training in Detecting Risky and Deceptive Behavior” will be moderated by the partners in the project. Participants in the focus groups will be security professionals from diverse levels, for example:

- personal guards;

- protection of property;

- event guards;

- cargo protection;

- security personnel involved in airport people and luggage checks and

- all other interested professionals who could provide information and ideas for the thematic framework of the specialized online training.

 

II. AIM OF FOCUS GROUPS

The aim of the focus group is to help all partners in the project to:

- Bring out the practical needs of the security personnel and professionals who provide for attaining security in public aviation, energetics, communications etc. of specialized training in detecting risky and deceptive behavior;

- Assist in formulating topics and development of learning outcomes framework of the training, which answer the concrete practical needs, problematic areas and threats;

- Develop local and international partnerships;

- Increase knowledge of professionals in the field of public security about obtaining specific skills and knowledge for the prevention and also forming a proactive attitude in providing public order and security.

 

III. CHOICE, INVOLVEMENT OF PARTICIPANTS & PLANNING

The choice and the attraction of security companies, professional security organizations and experts in the field is of key importance for the implementation of the EU-PROTECT project. In order to invite participants for the focus groups and receive support for the project is necessary for each partner to get in touch with security companies, organizations and associations and invite them to join the focus groups. It is recommended that all partners invite representatives of the supporting companies.

Before getting in touch with the targeted companies, each partner have to make a decision in regards to:

- Which companies, organizations, experts and professionals could contribute the most to the aims of the focus groups;

- Which companies, organizations, experts and professionals could provide quality feedback on the questions discussed during focus groups;

- Which organizations are available in the region where the focus groups will be conducted.

To gather participants for the focus groups each partner could organize meetings, make phone calls, send emails in which to:

- Share information about the idea and the aim of the project,

- Tell them the importance of their personal involvement as an end user;

- Point out the advantages of their participation and

- Share the program of the focus group.

After receiving confirmation for participation, the partners should inform the participants about the date, time and place of the focus groups. 

 

IV. CONDUCTING FOCUS GROUPS      

The conductance of two planned focus groups are going to be a real research laboratory for experience exchange sharing of ideas to help develop the thematic modules of the online training.

Focus Group 1 – 5 /five/ participants, security guards.

Focus Group 2 – 5 /five/ participants, security managers.

After conducting the first focus group all partners in the project need to summarize the provided information regarding the needs of the respondents.

The second focus group aims validation of the results of the first focus group, skills, knowledge and competencies to be acquired through the online training. 

The effective moderation of the focus groups will lead to free sharing by the participants of important information regarding their work, problems they encounter, the lack of crucial knowledge or skills to manage particular situations and/or to detect potentially risky or deceptive behavior. 

 

Recommendations for the moderator

The moderator of the focus group needs to be familiarized with this recommendations to be able to:

- Set up the rules of the discussion and watch for their following

- Open for discussion specific topics and manage it

- Make a suitable environment where the discussion is constructive and informative to be able to help the development of the learning outcomes framework of the online training, making the participants share their needs of specific knowledge, skills and competences

 

Recommendations for leading a focus group:

1. Start the meeting by thanking the participants for their time and efforts. Make a short overview of the schedule. Share the rules of the discussion. Make sure you tell everyone the discussion is to be audio and/or video recorded – ask them to sigh declarations of consent. Explain how important for the project is their personal opinion regarding all questions under discussion. 

- Ask all participants in the group to present themselves briefly:

- the company they work at

- the position they hold in the company and the activities included in their job

- the trainings they have gone through

- thematic blocks of the trainings and topics included

2. Make a short resume of the idea of the project, its aim, what is the topic of the online training and the targeted audience.

3. Point out to the threats in the modern world today terrorist attacks, hostage situations, crimes and the escalating aggression in interpersonal communication. 

4. Point out the role of the professionals in the security field besides the government employees and experts in the management of the potential risks.

5. Focus the attention towards the fact that new threats and risks present the need for new acquired skills, knowledge and competences of the specialists. Visualize this by giving examples of such situations – assaults, terrorist attacks etc. / you may use video-illustrations of real events connected to the actions of security personnel/.

6. Present the questions under discussion and point out that they need to be put in the context of today’s European and global security situation.

7. Fix a time frame for each point of discussion to be able to keep track of time and be able to encompass all topics.

8. Point out that the personal opinion and experience of each participant will be crucial for the development of the learning outcomes framework on the online training and its need to be of practical use to the professionals in the field.

 

Focus Group 1 - Questions:
 
1. During the professional trainings you have had, have you been given information to help you distinguish and detect indicators of aggressive, criminal, terroristic or deceptive behavior?

2. According to you, to what extend the criminal and terroristic threats are realistic?

3. Do you feel prepared professionally to prevent or act to such events?

4. According to you, what special knowledge, skills and competences in the sphere of psychological training of security personnel, would help you act in a professional and efficient manner in such situations?

5. Do you know which are the indicators that someone is preparing for aggressive or criminal actions /assault, theft, terroristic act/?

6. What knowledge for detecting such indicators in the behavior of other people do you think would be useful to obtain for your professional practice?

7. Are you familiar with indicators for detecting preparation for or actual deceptive behavior /lie, hiding truth, fraud/ which could be recognized during a conversation?

8. What knowledge about the detection of such indicators would be useful in your daily job?

9. On the scale from 1 to 10, how would you assess your knowledge and skills in detecting indicators for preparation of aggressive, criminal or deceptive behaviors of people? /1 – no knowledge and skills; 10 – complete knowledge – I can detect potentially risky individuals/

10. Which skills connected to the detection of such indicators you believe is necessary to be developed?

11. According to you, what competences should a security professional possess to be able to act preventatively in potentially risky situations?

12. What do you know about risky behavior?

13. What do you know about deceptive behavior?

14. What do you know about profiling /behavioral analysis/?

15. What do you know about stress management /recognizing and managing stress/?

16. According to you, what other topics, besides the above mentioned would be useful to enhance your professional skills?

17. What do you think is the best and most effective format to present the information on the commented topics?

18. According to you, in what professional situations you encounter, you could use the acquired knowledge?

19. Do you have any other suggestions on the topics under discussion?

 

Focus Group 2 – Questions:
 
1. Present the summary of the analysis of the information gathered after Focus Group 1 in regards to the knowledge, skills and competences in the context of the aims of the online training. 

2. Which knowledge, skills and competences mentioned are, according to you, relevant to the development of the quality of security personnel professional activities in connection to the present risks and threats to the public safety?

3. According to you, what other specific knowledge, skills and competences need to be acquired by security personnel in regards to the new threats of the safety of citizens?

4. According to you, what would be the most suitable format for the presentation of the topics under discussion?

5. Do you have any other suggestions or comments?

- To collect additional information you could give out a questionnaire at the end of the focus group to be filled out by the participants.

- During the focus group manage effectively the time and the topics under discussion by focusing the group in the discussion and limit inclinations toward unimportant topics.

- Provide opportunity for writing down the feedback from respondents.

- Summarize the discussion and close the meeting. Thank everyone for their participation.

- In case the debates continue longer than planned, prepare an opportunity for a short break - coffee break.

- After the completion of Focus Group 1, summarize and analyze the results. Prepare s short report of the analysis to be used in Focus Group 2 /you may visualize the analysis/.

- Present your first report to the other partners in the project, to be able to exchange information and synthesis of the work done.

- After conducting Focus Group 2, summarize and analyze the results.

- Gather all reports and develop a learning outcomes framework for the online training.

 

V. RECOMMENDED SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

Period Activity
 30.01 – 03.02.2017  Research, choice and contacting security companies, organizations or professionals in the security field.
 06.02 – 17.02.2017  Make contact with potential interested participants. Presenting the ideas and aims of the project and of the focus groups. Meet with them to organize and schedule the focus groups. Feedback and confirmation for participation.
 20.02 – 17.03.2017  Conduct Focus Group 1
Analysis and summary of the collected information from Focus Group 1. Develop presentation of the results f to present to Focus Group 2. Conduct Focus Group 2.
 20.03 – 31.03.2017  Analysis and summary of the collected information from Focus Group 2. Correspondence and sharing of the results of both focus groups between partners.  Development of the learning outcomes framework for the online training.