Using Focus Groups for Student Evaluation of Teaching

July 24, 2007

Traditional means of evaluating instruction, though reliable, are limited in scope. In this paper, I provide an argument and a template for the use of focus groups as a supplemental tool for gathering student feedback. I begin with a brief discussion of focus groups and an examination of the traditional student evaluation process. Next, I discuss the advantages of using focus group research to supplement that process. After considering some of the shortcomings of focus group research, I provide specific suggestions for using this means of collecting data. I conclude with a case study example of the preliminary results of my own focus group inquiry.

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