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Focus Groups


In the Spring of 2010, the University of New Hampshire Survey Center conducted a series of focus groups with elementary school educators in collaboration with the New England Genetic Collaborative (NEGC). The purpose of the groups was to test reaction to a new web based tool designed by NEGC to provide practical information about children with genetic and metabolic conditions to elementary school teachers.

Three focus groups were held with staff from elementary schools in various New England locations:

  • Killingly Intermediate School in Killingly, Connecticut
  • Maple Wood Elementary School in Somersworth, New Hampshire
  • Flynn School in Burlington, Vermont.

Eight people participated in one group, eleven participated in another, and seven participated in the third. All groups were moderated by Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and lasted approximately one hour.  


Schools were recruited through members of the Dissemination, Information and Marketing (DEM) workgroup of the New England Genetics Collaborative in partnership with the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and the UNH Survey Center. Schools that agreed to host a focus group recruited elementary level teachers, special educators, para-professionals, OT, PT and speech specialists and school nurses for the focus groups.  

Major Conclusions

  • The overall perception of a genetic disorder information website is that it would be very usefull to those in the classroom, special educators, and in the future to parents and families.
  • Ensure that additional button can be added to address needs. 
  • The site would need to be aesthetically pleasing and allow for technical refinements.
  • The platform needs to be expandable toward additional populations, additional conditions and additional characteristics such as age or grade of student, and whether it is a parent, teacher, or special educator using the resource.


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