A Method of Partnering for Evaluating Educational Materials

  • Bean, Thomas;
  • Hard, David L.;
  • Lawrence, Timothy;
  • Morton, Linda;
  • Jepsen, S. Dee;
  • Snyder, Karl A.

Focus groups are widely used in political and consumer goods marketing to determine attitudes and beliefs of target populations relative to products and issues. Little equivalent use has been made of focus groups in the development and marketing of informational literature in the area of agricultural safety. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a project to determine the attitudes and beliefs of a focus group relative to general issues of farm safety and o a specific NIOSH informational product on grain handling safety procedures. The organization of the focus group was expedited by collaboration with The Ohio State University, Agricultural Engineering Department, which possesses extensive knowledge of the target population.

The focus group was composed of farmers, county extension agents and a farm equipment dealer. The group was asked to respond to prepared questions, and was also given the freedom to address matters of general farm safety. The session was recorded on audiocassette and transcribed for easy reference.

The Institute and The Ohio State University, Agricultural Engineering Department gained valuable comments regarding the format, content, and presentation of the draft document. Comments ranged from specific remarks about individual sections and graphical illustrations to general observations about the size and appearance of the document. Suggestions were also made to expand the document's intended audience of farmers and farm employees to include educational settings such as high school vocational-agricultural departments.

The comments from the focus group provided significant feedback on the usefulness of the publication to a target audience, as well as general information on target population attitudes and beliefs.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

L.L. Morton, K.A. Snyder, D.L. Hard, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV; T.L. Bean, T.J. Lawrence, S.D. Jepsen, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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