Socio-Economic Services for European Research Projects (SESERV

)
European Seventh Framework Project FP7-2010-ICT-258138-CSA

Deliverable D1.5 Methodology for SESERV Year 2 Coordination Activities

The SESERV Consortium
University of Zürich, UZH, Switzerland University of Southampton, IT Innovation Centre, U.K. Athens University of Economics and Business - Research Center, AUEB-RC, Greece University of Oxford, UOX, U.K. Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs, ALBLF, France Atos Spain SA, Atos, Spain

© Copyright 2012, the Members of the SESERV Consortium
For more information on this document or the SESERV support action, please contact: Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller Universität Zürich, CSG@IFI Binzmühlestrasse 14 CH—8050 Zürich Switzerland Phone: +41 44 635 4355 Fax: +41 44 635 6809 E-mail: info@seserv.org

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Document Control
Title: Type: Editor(s): E-mail: Author(s): Doc ID: Methodology for SESERV Year 2 Coordination Activities Public J Brian Pickering jbp@it-innovation.soton.ac.uk Costas Kalogiros (AUEB), Anne-Marie Oostveen (OII), J Brian Pickering (IT Innovation) D1.5-v1.0.doc

AMENDMENT HISTORY
Version
V0.1 V0.2 V0.3 V0.4 V0.5 V0.6 V1.0

Date
27 Feb 2012 31 Jul 2012 14 Aug 2012 14 Aug 2012 15 Aug 2012 21 Aug 2012 22 Aug 2012

Author
Brian Pickering Brian Pickering, Costas Kalogiros Brian Pickering, Anne-Marie Oostveen Brian Pickering Brian Pickering, Anne-Marie Oostveen Brian Pickering Brian Pickering

Description/Comments
Initial Version Update including input from Costas Kalogiros Inclusion comments from Anne-Marie Oostveen; Inclusion of Recommendations/Conclusions Incorporating Anne-Marie’s comments Including reviewer’s comments Final editing for document submission

Legal Notices The information in this document is subject to change without notice. The Members of the SESERV Consortium make no warranty of any kind with regard to this document, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The Members of the SESERV Consortium shall not be held liable for errors contained herein or direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential damages in connection with the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.

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Table of Content
1   Executive Summary 2   Introduction 2.1   Purpose of D1.5 2.2   Document Scope 3   SESERV Focus Groups and Online Survey 3.1   Focus Groups: General Methodology 3.1.1   Rationale 3.1.2   Focus groups 3.1.3   Running the Focus Groups 3.1.4   Details of Group Composition 3.1.5   Should Focus Groups Involve Strangers or Pre-existing Social Groups? 3.1.6   The Stakeholders for the Focus Group 3.1.7   Number of Groups 3.1.8   Recruitment 3.1.9   Rôle of Facilitator 3.1.10   Choice of Venue 3.1.11   Audio and Video Recording 3.1.12   Length and Payment 3.1.13   Tools and Techniques 3.1.14   Discussion 3.1.15   Summary of Focus Groups 3.2   Online Survey: Focus Group Topic Selection 3.2.1   Results 3.3   Socio-economic Topics: WP-specific Selections 3.3.1   SESERV Athens Workshop: Network-centric Concerns 3.3.2   Societally-based Themes 3.4   Conclusions on Focus Group Methodology from SESERV 4   Summary and Conclusions References Abbreviations Acknowledgements 5   6   7   7   8   8   8   9   10   12   12   13   14   14   15   16   17   17   18   19   22   23   24   28   28   29   29   31   32   33   33  

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List of Figures
Figure 1: Spread of Responses Across the Domains of Socio-Economic, Economic and Societal Themes (N=59 of whom 7 left no name) .............................................................. 25   Figure 2: Average Rating for the Fifteen Topics (1=low priority; 5=highest priority) .......... 26   Figure 3: Average Ratings as in Figure 2, Ordered from the Topic Judged Most Important Down to Least Important .................................................................................................... 27  

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1 Executive Summary
This document is a new deliverable D1.5 “Methodology for SESERV Year 2 Coordination Activities” of Work Package 1 “FIA Sessions and Scientific Workshops” within the ICT SESERV Project 258138. The Future Internet (FI) Ecosystem is now a complex and dynamic socio-economic space with a significant increase in the diversity of rôles, an increased emphasis on users, ever increasing functional and non-functional pressures on infrastructures and a blurring of rôles between major market players. The concerns of the Internet have moved from structures purely targeting transit and delivery of data to socioeconomic structures supporting the exchange of information and knowledge according to the values of individuals and communities. Bringing together the relevant participants requires careful thought and preparation to ensure that all parties can be heard and their views understood and taken into account. To this end, and with the experience of fruitful discussion and engagement in the first year of SESERV with those building and those studying the FI, it was decided for the second year of the project to explore topics originally identified as relevant and important across the economics and societal domains using a focus group methodology to engage with interested parties. To begin with, initial focus groups were planned, each requiring: • • • The selection of appropriate topics; The selection of appropriate participants; and Establishing relevant fora within which those participants can discuss the topics identified.

To this end, topics were based on the fifteen themes to emerge from the first year of the SESERV project, including eight cross-cutting themes from the SESERV Oxford Workshop (which derive from WP3) and the seven common tussle types identified during analysis of a number of Challenge 1 projects (from WP2), making a total of fifteen candidate issues. An online survey was organised and identified the rank order of these fifteen topics which would provide suitable input for the planned focus groups. WP2, focusing mainly on the economics of FI challenges, and WP3, concerned with the broader, societal challenges, decided to facilitate focus groups around the topics of the online survey, with different emphases: WP2 grouped the fifteen topics in relation to the three main themes of Challenge 1 ICT projects and organised focus group discussions covering a number of the topics as they relate to relevant network-centric tussles; WP3, by contrast, decided to take the highest ranking (societal) issues and use these to direct the focus groups planned. Both work packages used the same generic focus group approach, as derived from the relevant literature. For WP2, the decision was taken to explore stakeholder rôles explicitly as they related to solutions to the identified tussles which were proposed by a number of Challenge 1 projects; WP3 looked instead to interested party views on the broad societal issues identified in the online survey. Overall, the focus groups in each work package have engaged the community and demonstrated the formation of a number of different issues and concerns, reported on in the respective work packages. In consequence, they have taken the FISE conversation further in identifying the main issues facing the Future Internet.

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2 Introduction
It was apparent from the SESERV Oxford Workshop1 that in discussion whether about security and privacy, or cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and online communities, there were strong, and at times, opposing views among delegates at the event. From the various breakout sessions that were held there, a range of cross-cutting themes emerged2 which have been used since as the basis for further discussion at SESERV-organised as well as external events. These included: 1. A call for increased transparency in data use and systems 2. A call for more user-centricity and control 3. A continuing need for further multi-disciplinary and cross-sectorial bridging 4. The need to strike a balance between the outer poles in debates and designs 5. The facilitation of further digital literacy development 6. Addressing the lack of common vocabularies and definitions 7. The need to clarify digital rights (including digital choice) 8. Inviting global regulatory frameworks Apart from the specifics of the topics themselves, an important feature of these findings is the perceived need for cross-disciplinary debate to arrive at solutions, taking on board the issues and concerns of all affected parties within a common understanding of what those issues are. The development of those themes in subsequent discussions is reported in other deliverables. But an important consideration is how we should arrive at such multidisciplinary views without being constrained by the lack of common terminologies. Bringing participants – technologists, social scientists, policy makers, end users - at the various events together to discuss relevant topics is one thing. Trying to bring together a group of such disparate interests within a common context (interest in the FI) and exploring how ideas or even solutions and recommendations could emerge is a challenge. However, one technique which could provide significant benefit in this situation is a focus group. As Kitzinger points out: “[Focus groups] examine how knowledge and, more importantly, how ideas both develop, and operate, in a given cultural context” Kitzinger [4] p.116 As such, focus groups seemed an ideal choice to facilitate discussion around these themes, whilst at the same time allowing for different stakeholders to come together in ways that they would not normally be accustomed to in pursuit of a multi-disciplinary approach to the major socio-economic concerns surrounding the future internet. This document sets out the background and approach to the use of focus groups in this context.

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http://www.seserv.org/panel https://46b90981-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/seservtest1/panel/Crossthematictrendsofbreakoutsessions.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7coAiSZZPW19h4RmdxULdH3xCCFvc2EzkFHq9tyhAcmKOpGmsh775HCcIKWCgS8WASVpJ3R9nwVDoOEG8f07WkDiN YdrpBM2bywrkW965IcUhMKC8ah3Js7wgv49hkTuRlcilEsmOmGh8OT0uPePqxtONq53oL0qK1Msnf6lWrwezjQtlVxB_ 2TlOXX1LeU1HqWaBzwwmSdvyGIMDs4puPyb57jPk9YqZYiGzeJvkrLxRQMAPwnE8A8qfD3G9m10i3EcP0F&attredir ects=0

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The selection of topics and the adoption of focus group techniques are common to both WP2 and WP3 for the second year of the SESERV project after the successful exploration of themes in the first SESERV Scientific Workshop in Oxford. The motivation for the selection of specific topics, as well as the actual application of a focus group approach is outlined in this deliverable. During the second year, WP2 and WP3, starting from a common basis, sought to explore a broad range of FI ecosystem issues using a common focus group methodology adapted in each case to the topics and foci of the two work packages.

2.1

Purpose of D1.5

This report provides the FISE community and the EC with the methodology for focus group activities for societal and economic aspects of the FI over the second year of the SESERV project. The purpose is to identify and set out the foundation for focus group participation to explore and develop an understanding of the relevant FI issues, based on multidisciplinary involvement in the groups themselves and using the focus group method to examine how the “ideas develop” in the context of the FI. The document aims to bring together the outcomes of focus group based engagements with the FI community. This includes a survey of FI issues, the selection of relevant and appropriate discussion themes on the basis of those issues, and the plan for organising successful focus groups around those topics as they relate to the primary concerns and focus areas for WP2 and WP3.The goal is to highlight challenges and priorities within the FI ecosystem and to raise awareness of how these challenges can affect societal challenges posed by the Digital Agenda.

2.2

Document Scope

This document is a new deliverable D1.5 “Methodology for SESERV Year 2 Coordination Activities” of Work Package 1 “FIA Sessions and Scientific Workshops” within the ICT SESERV Project 258138. Section 3.1 introduces the Focus Group Methodology, and indicates how this was applied in the case of each of the work packages. Section 3.2 discusses how the topics for discussion during the focus groups were selected. Section 3.3 outlines the specific plans and outcomes for the two work packages. Section 3.4 summarises recommendations on Focus Group Methodology as used by the SESERV project.

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3 SESERV Focus Groups and Online Survey
During the first year of the SESERV project3, via a number of different engagements, including direct breakout discussion meetings at the SESERV Oxford Workshop4 as well as a number of online surveys5,6, the project has identified issues which are of significance for the FI, and which have specifically highlighted key socio-economic challenges to be considered by those developing the technology to support and exploit the capabilities of the FI. These include a number of cross-sectorial topics identified as a result of two main activities: i. The SESERV Oxford workshop hosted by the Oxford Internet Institute, bringing together technologists, policy makers and experts across various Challenge 1 ICT projects and socio-economic projects. Eight major topics were identified that participants highlighted through a number of break-out sessions on various subjects7,8. In an effort to validate tussle analysis, SESERV network specialists engaged with a number of Challenge 1 ICT projects to establish any common tussle concerns and patterns. From this analysis, seven major tussle groups were identified that recurred across different technology projects.

ii.

Reviewing these fifteen (eight societal from the SESERV workshop, and seven economic from the tussle analysis) topics, some were clearly of interest and relevance to both social as well as economic researchers, whereas others were relevant exclusively to one or the other sphere. In consequence, the fifteen topics may be classified as Economic (E), Societal (S) or Socio-Economic (SE). For SESERV’s second year, and given how successful and informative the SESERV workshop breakout sessions at the SESERV Oxford workshop had proved to be, a survey was run to rank the fifteen cross-sectorial topics in order of relevance and interest to the participants. The results would identify the themes to be used as the basis for a series of focus groups to be held in the first half of 2012. The first of these were held at the SESERV Athens workshop, focusing on economic issues; a second focus group was organised in Oxford on the topic of multi-disciplinarity; and a further economic group and another focus group concentrating on societal issues, were held in parallel to the FIA event in Aalborg.

3.1

Focus Groups: General Methodology

3.1.1 Rationale Consolidating the findings of the surveys and SESERV Oxford workshop, it was felt appropriate to explore a number of the socio-economic challenges identified. To this end,

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http://www.seserv.org http://www.seserv.org/panel 5 http://www.seserv.org/fise-conversation/socio-economicpriorities 6 http://www.seserv.org/fise-conversation/fise2012focusgroupssurveyresults 7 See the list in the Introduction.

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the project decided to organise a number of focus groups, recruiting attendees at a number of different events. The purpose of these focus groups is to engage with appropriate stakeholders and explore their perceptions such that those building and those researching the FI might understand how stakeholders respond to the challenges faced. Engaging directly with them has enabled SESERV to establish any common perceptions, concerns and areas which require further investigation or effort. As highlighted through the various project-led engagements, it has become clear that a true understanding of future socio-economic challenges can really only be gained through bringing together appropriately experienced players from diverse areas and encouraging discussion between them. Such cross-sectorial debate is what SESERV champions8,9 and which has already begun to highlight issues and challenges which have perhaps been lost in governmental instruments and reports. 3.1.2 Focus groups Using focus group discussions has become a key method for the collection of information of a qualitative nature. There are significant features of a focus group which need to be considered and which benefit the FI socio-economic debate: the aim is not (necessarily) to establish consensus or even common understanding. Instead, a focus group involves the dynamic evolution of a collective and possibly divergent view, using appropriate language and expressing thoughts and ideas as they come up during discussion, allowing ideas, concepts and vocabulary to be challenged immediately, and new trains of thought explored. As highlighted elsewhere, a common language for discussion is missing; and the need to bring together diverse stakeholders is key to moving the debate forward. Focus groups are ideally placed to facilitate such debate. Although the high profile accorded to the focus group in both market research and political canvassing is not matched within social research, it has a valuable rôle to play in the generation of qualitative data. Recognition of that value has led in recent years to renewed interest in the use of focus groups in social research. Indeed, its origins lie within sociology (Morgan, 1988 [6]). In the 1950s the American sociologist Robert Merton and his colleagues [5] used focus groups, in combination with other research methods, to examine the impact of wartime propaganda (Cronin [2], p.165). Since then, a wealth of work in health and social integration has used focus groups extensively10. A focus group consists of a small group of individuals, usually between six and ten people11, who meet together to express their views about a particular topic defined by the researcher. A facilitator leads the group and guides the discussion between the participants. In general, focus groups last one and half to two hours and are recorded (video, audio, or both). The audio-recording can be transcribed for analysis. The focus group enables the researcher to explore participants’ views and experiences on a specific subject in depth, for example the use of the Internet for social or collaborative networking, or changing connection agreements between ISPs. In the normal course of a focus group participants will raise issues relating to the subject that the researcher might not have

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http://www.seserv.org http://www.seserv.org/fise-conversation/Outcome-of-the-SESERV-workshop-on-the-interplay-of-economics-andtechnology 10 There is a whole literature on nursing practices [13], socio-cultural attitudes [12] and AIDS [3] 11 Numbers do vary in the literature from small (3-8 participants) to moderate (5 to 15). As discussed in subsequent sections WP2 and WP3 decided on different approaches.

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previously considered and comment on each other’s experiences and attitudes (Cronin [2], p.168). Focus groups provide an ostensibly attractive medium for public participation in the research process: they are social events; they are time-limited; and they require no technical skills from group members (Bloor et al [1], p.13). For SESERV, “public” relates to the community of technologists, experts, policy makers and users within the FI ecosystem. WP2, with its emphasis on economic issues within the network and its direct engagement with Challenge 1 projects and tussle analysis, decided to examine potential tussles in their focus groups. They engaged with the major FI ecosystem stakeholders in an attempt to elicit their views on what is needed within the Future Internet, as well as to discuss potential problems that would need to be addressed. The basic approach to the FGs was to seed discussion with a presentation from one of the various Challenge 1 projects describing a particular tussle and then investigate how discussion would pan out across the multiple stakeholders involved: a real-time tussle analysis initiated via technology presentation. Those organised in association with the SESERV Athens Workshop12 and the FIA Aalborg event typically involved 10 to 15 participants, each representing an FI ecosystem stakeholder. For WP3, by contrast, there was no attempt to steer discussion in a similar way; tussle analysis does not apply so readily to the broader social issues identified during the SESERV project, and the distinction between FI stakeholder and FI participant is less well defined. As with the SESERV Oxford Workshop breakout sessions13, there was no particular need to suggest or assign stakeholder rôles; those taking part engage at a whole number of different levels including from the perspective of their research and project experience as well as from their own observations of the way in which the FI is developing. Further, the WP3 focus groups tended to be smaller, less constrained discussions of 4 to 8 participants.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened Each work package has different target participant groups. They may not naturally fall into stakeholder groupings. Recruitment may depend on the parallel, host event. WP2 benefited from participants in a fairly closed and experienced group (Challenge 1 projects, network-centric); WP3 participants came from a much wider and less defined community.

3.1.3 Running the Focus Groups The SESERV focus groups reported on in different deliverables were organised principally in association with appropriately themed events for FI stakeholders, including technology providers as well as social scientists and experts, and users where possible. The demographics of attendees at such events can be seen as potentially limited: are all stakeholders represented, for instance? However, there is a key advantage in as much as participants at these events will tend to be significantly more motivated in exploring specific issues than a wider, more general audience. For SESERV, this offers the potential

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for focused and relevant discussion from the outset, which means we avoid having to organise a number of iterations for a single focus group to encourage group cohesion as well as helping to home in on topics of real common interest. The focus group literature has typically recommended groups consisting of between six and ten people as the optimum size for focus group discussion. However, groups have been reported that have ranged in size from as small as three and as many as fourteen or fifteen participants. For SESERV, group-size was dictated by the logistics of the background event. Exploring the user requirements for online Social Networking Sites (SNS’s) for instance at a certain location where there are few SNS participants would necessarily define the limits of the size of the group. In addition, participant travel arrangements and their own networking requirements at larger events may dictate practical limits on group size. Whatever the size of the group it was felt important to try to balance the characteristics of participants as well as the topics being discussed. The basic guiding factor for group size resides with group dynamics. Larger groups can be more difficult to moderate, especially if subgroups form between individuals who may wish to ally themselves with participants having similar views. In a limited time period, the focus is on trying to allow everyone to have a chance to speak, rather than developing concepts in greater depth, with individuals being able to come in more than once and explore ideas together. In addition, of course, participants can feel threatened in larger groups especially if smaller subgroups have formed and the individual feels isolated or separated. In consequence, groups of smaller size tend to be successful in: • Studies of sensitive behaviour, which would offer an opportunity to explore some of the more private areas of online identity, community membership and trust, and more sensitive areas of network management and traffic shaping; Studies with minority groups, which would provide a forum to consider the concerns of those that the Digital Agenda targets for inclusion, as well as those FI ecosystem stakeholders who may feel disenfranchised depending on how network contention is resolved; Complex topics, involving infrastructure, services, applications and user perceptions and ad hoc usage; Dealing with experts, who would form the majority of participants given the nature of the events; in smaller groups, individual experts will tend to discuss autonomously and from their own viewpoint, whereas in larger groups, there may be a tendency for those less experienced to unconsciously align themselves with perceived experts rather than voicing and developing independent views; Dealing with people in authority, which might help uncover practical disparities among stakeholders.

• •

Groups consisting of a smaller number of individuals can potentially result in limited discussion and risk cancellation if just one or two participants fail to turn up. But as described above, larger groups can also present problems. They can be difficult to moderate and may frustrate the participants if they feel that they have not had adequate time to express their views and opinions. They may deteriorate with the more outgoing and vociferous members of the group dominating the interaction, whereas in smaller groups it is easier for the moderator to intervene. In purely practical terms, the more participants,

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the more difficult it becomes for the transcriber to attribute sets of interaction to specific individuals. We decided, therefore, to aim at 5 or so different focus groups in total, and discussion with varying numbers of stakeholders per group. These focus groups were divided across economic, societal and socio-economic spheres.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened Exploiting related “hosting” events may have advantages in recruiting participants. But this may lead to dominant voices which will need to be managed by the FG facilitators. In the end, the related events were a good source of participants. What is more, since participants within this environment were motivated through common interest in the subject matter, active participation did not turn out to be an issue, nor the dominance of a single individual.

3.1.4 Details of Group Composition Attention must be given to participant characteristics in relation to the topic being discussed and effort and thought to recruitment sources and strategies (Bloor et al [1], p.19). Careful consideration of group composition is vital. There has to be sufficient diversity to encourage discussion: and we know from Oxford that multi-disciplinarity is important4. However, groups that are too heterogeneous may result in conflict and the repression of views of certain individuals. Researchers should also be aware of differentials between participants that may cause some views to be silenced, for example, groups where individuals vary in status and in power. WP2 and WP3 adopted different approaches. For economic topics, network researchers and service providers tend to form a fairly homogeneous set in terms of experience though have very different economic interests and concerns. It may be that inviting them to assume stakeholder rôles may force them into specific position-taking, which in itself is an interesting subject of investigation. By contrast, and since societal topics identified for the FI are not generally regarded as particularly sensitive, WP3 could accommodate more heterogeneous groups. In the end, participants in both economically focused or societally focused groups were selected as representative of a range of rôles and views with appropriate interest and experience across a wide variety of areas all related to the FI and Challenge 1 technologies as could be found at the various background events.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened See above (Section 3.1.3)

3.1.5 Should Focus Groups Involve Strangers or Pre-existing Social Groups? From the literature on focus groups we learn that research participants who belong to preexisting social groups may bring to the interaction comments about shared experiences and events and may challenge any discrepancies between expressed beliefs and actual behaviour and generally promote discussion and debate (Bloor et al. [1], 22). Pre-existing groups can also have major practical benefits. Recruiting a group that is part of an established social network can reduce recruitment effort because the researcher can contact group members through one individual group member. It is also possible that preexisting groups may result in reduced attrition rates because the participants have a sense of shared obligation to attend (in contrast to a group of strangers). One problem with prePage 12 of 33
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existing groups is ‘over-disclosure’. Spur of the moment disclosures about issues or events unknown to other group members may have an impact upon everyday relationships after the group is over. Focus groups of strangers may potentially have the additional advantage of allowing people to speak more freely and openly than they would in a pre-existing social group without the fear of repercussions after the group is over. However, groups of strangers may be less cohesive than those consisting of individuals with pre-existing social links. They may take more time to ‘warm up’: this is where focusing exercises can be a great help. Another problem is that strangers are less likely to attend the group. Because of the nature of SESERV topics, and of participation at the targeted events, it was felt that participants would of necessity fall into a hybrid category: they are not or rarely friends or other social group members, and yet they are also not entirely strangers, since they share a common interest in and experiences with the subject matter. For SESERV, the idea was to get as many appropriate stakeholders involved as possible. WP2 in Athens explicitly assigned stakeholder rôles to participants to encourage their input from a specific viewpoint. By contrast, WP3 invited participants at random from the various delegates at the background events. In so doing, the two work packages had different levels of facilitation to deal with: for WP2, it was very much a classic moderator position maintaining some degree of equal participation across the FI stakeholders represented, though all participants could be expected to have the same level of familiarity with the subject matter. WP2 was therefore about exploring opposing views and investigating conclusions. By contrast, for WP3, the task was to encourage discussion across participants with differing interests and levels of experience with the FI and thereby explore the formation of ideas and concepts.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened See above (Section 3.1.3)

3.1.6 The Stakeholders for the Focus Group The topics for discussion involve stakeholders across FI technologies and areas of expertise. Ideally, the focus groups would therefore consist of participants of different: • • • • • Areas (network, end-users, applications, services, etc) Involvement types (technologist versus scientist, and so forth) Experience with the FI Experience with the different EC instruments of relevance Exposures to end-user services

We had to be realistic about the practical problems of reconvening groups for a second and a third meeting. Since the focus groups were organised in association with a related event, participants were drawn from delegates at those events. This kept costs low, as well as ensuring that participants could be expected to share similar interest and therefore motivation. On the other hand, there was no guarantee that the same delegates would attend the other events, which would compromise any continuity or the development of issues arising in an earlier group. The main disadvantages with the decision not to reconvene were that it would not be possible (a) to explore any longer term group dynamics (participants aligning themselves with other participants or stakeholders, but
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then changing their views over time), (b) to monitor any changes in perspective or views, and (c) capitalise on any nascent group dynamic (such that the discussion could begin directly without participants having to acclimatise). In the end, because of time constraints and the advantage of seeking motivated and experienced participants from the parallel events, we decided not to reconvene with the same participants and on the same topic. Nonetheless, we did explore the same topic on several occasions but with different participants for one specific case (one of the Athens focus groups was re-run in Aalborg, including stakeholders who had not previously been represented).
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened See above (Section 3.1.3)

3.1.7 Number of Groups Focus groups are labour intensive in recruitment, transcription and analysis. Therefore, where possible, numbers should be kept down to a bare minimum. We decided therefore that experience with initial focus groups at events such as FIA and the SESERV Athens workshop would determine the optimum number of groups to run, starting with three on economic (network-centric) and two on societal themes. Based on the feedback received after the Athens Workshop [7] (Section 3.2.2), where half of the participants indicated that the perspectives of content owners were rather missing from the workshop, we invited delegates at the FIA event in Aalborg to a fourth focus group to study the impact of QoS-aware interconnection on delivering gaming services.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened To some degree, the number of FGs and whether they can be repeated or not is dictated by the “hosting” events. WP2 held 4 FGs in total, covering three discussion threads: one of the FGs was a repeat of one of the original three from the SESERV Athens workshop but with different participants. WP3 held 2 FGs in association with relevant events.

3.1.8 Recruitment Systematic random sampling is not very important because the aim of a focus group is not to make generalizations to a population in the same way that large-scale quantitative methods may have as their goal. In addition, it was anticipated that participants would be representative of different FI ecosystem stakeholders, attending the focus groups voluntarily and as an interesting complement to the discussions they would have witnessed at the parallel event. The SESERV project targeted suitably experienced participants at those events. Guaranteeing participation was a challenge, depending on the event. At the FIA Aalborg event, for instance, the event programme meant that some of those who wanted to attend would have had to alter travel or other arrangements. In addition, many potential participants had had to develop material for the demonstration and poster sessions and had not therefore been able to sign up for the focus groups when advertised. In future, recruitment needs to be considered carefully, perhaps involving individual targeting rather than generalised advertising.

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Issue(s) for SESERV

Without separate funding, this is largely dependent on participation at the “hosting” events. Topics may be identified independently and in advance. However, participation will depend on how the FGs can be run within the programme of the event. Topics were identified via online survey, with WP2 relating issues back to the tussles identified in other work, and WP3 using the highest-ranking issues from the survey directly. Recruitment was taken directly from event participation. For WP2 at the SESERV Athens Workshop, this was relatively easy since the FGs could be scheduled and organised as part of the umbrella event; and for the WP3 Oxford FG, organisation was relatively simple, identifying participants in advance from their experience of multi-disciplinary research and inviting them in advance. This was not the case for either of the FGs at Aalborg.

What happened

3.1.9 Rôle of Facilitator The level of interaction between participants is largely dependent on the rôle taken by the group facilitator. There are low and high levels of moderation. Low-level moderation means that the facilitator’s rôle in the discussion is kept to a minimum. Data produced in this way can be said to be free of researcher influence and this is certainly a valid reason for choosing to adopt this level of moderation. There are a few problems with this low level of moderation. The first is that the discussion might wander away from the set topic, which might be expected to be a factor in the WP3 focus groups. Another problem might be that some individuals may dominate the proceedings (Cronin [2], p.166); this could affect either the WP2 or the WP3 focus groups. High-level moderation means that the facilitator assumes a high degree of control over the direction and nature of the discussion. Questions are asked in a specific order and there is little opportunity for participants to deviate from the topic or to raise issues of concern to them. High-level moderation is likely to impede rather than facilitate group discussion and interaction. In practice the majority of focus group facilitators opt for a level of moderation somewhere in between these two extremes (ibid). We had originally intended that the facilitators of the SESERV focus groups use medium level moderation: they were encouraged to perform a guiding rôle in the discussion, ready to interject, ask questions and probe for further information when necessary. In contrast to low-level moderation, this approach has the advantage that, as a facilitator, you can maintain a greater degree of control over the direction of the discussion, hence ensuring that the data are relevant to your research question (ibid). For the SESERV focus groups, the facilitators found in practice that they needed to adapt, sometimes dynamically, to the way in which any particular group was running. In general, a low-level of moderation was the default position. Ann Cronin (op cit) gives a lot of practical advice for facilitators in her article. We used her suggestions to compose a guideline for the facilitators of the focus groups. • • • • • Introduce yourself, welcome the participants Hand out the self-completion questionnaires Collect the questionnaires Make a statement about what you intend to do with the data collected Assure confidentiality

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• • • •

Let the participants know that you are not seeking ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. You are interested in hearing what they have to say Opening circle where participants give their name (& other relevant info) Make a note of the names and where they are sitting Ask one or two opening questions (for instance: ask participants about their understanding and definition of user-centricity, multi-disciplinary approaches, or specific network issues) Use focusing exercise (as appropriate) Ask 2 to 5 key questions Repeat original questions if necessary (when participants start to drift) Draw to a close with an ending question Closing circle Summarise key points of discussion and ask participants if they agree with this summary
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened Choice of facilitator depends on motivation and possibly funding (if the facilitator came from outside the consortium). Briefing materials etc would similarly depend on the selection of facilitator. For both WP2 and WP3, facilitators were used from the consortium with appropriate experience and expertise in the areas covered. As such, briefing material could be kept to a minimum.

• • • • • •

For the SESERV focus groups, these recommendations were tailored appropriately:

3.1.10 Choice of Venue Successful recruitment may depend on the accessibility of the venue to participants. For this reason it is important for focus groups to be held at places close to the participants (if possible a venue which is familiar to the members of the focus group should be chosen). For the SESERV focus groups, as already stated, the intention was to run focus groups at related events. This would represent an extension of the event itself, which may have benefits as well as drawbacks. On the one hand, it would present a semi-formal environment where related discussion and topics had been presented and debated (though not necessarily by the focus group participants themselves). On the other, whatever atmosphere had pervaded the parallel event might have spilled over into the focus group discussion. This was simply monitored by SESERV delegates and the focus group facilitators. We had to ensure that the focus group sessions were, wherever possible, free from interruptions or surveillance with no non-participating delegates wandering in. Too much background noise would compromise the audio recording, and all the participants would need to be able to see and hear each other. The venue would have to be one where people felt comfortable enough to sit and talk for a couple of hours. Whatever venue was ultimately chosen, the venue itself is known to have some impact on the data collected as touched on above. The formality of the group discussions may vary with the formality of the setting. There is no such thing as a neutral venue for a focus group (Bloor et al. 2001[1]: p.39). In Athens, rooms being used for the workshop were also
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used for the three focus groups, and in Aalborg, rooms were hired at the venue; as such they were familiar to the participants, if a little formal. The same was true for the other societal focus groups: rooms at the venue for the background event were re-used for the focus groups. The following checklist of equipment is suggested to be used for running a focus group (Cronin [2], p.172): • • • • • • • • • Digital recorder with cord/leads Remote microphone Extra batteries Video recording equipment Pads/pens or whiteboard for the moderator Copies of the focus group schedule A list of participants Pens/paper for participants (if necessary) Handouts (if appropriate)
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened Organising the FGs in the context of a “hosting” event dictated the amount of flexibility and overall control of logistics. For the original three WP2 FGs held in conjunction with the SESERV Athens Workshop, there was no issue. For the WP3 FGs and the other WP2 FG, the event dictated what could be achieved reasonably. The main issue was scheduling the FGs themselves within the context of the overall event.

3.1.11 Audio and Video Recording For the analysis of focus group data we aimed to collect an audio and a preferably video recording of every single group. Audio recording equipment that is suitable for recording one-to-one interviews may not always produce a recording of sufficient quality when used in group settings and so was not used. The microphone component is crucial, of course. In the event, the audio recordings were of sufficient quality to be used by those transcribing the sessions; in some cases (such as for the Oxford and Aalborg societal focus groups) transcriptions were made by professional transcribers.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened As above (Section 3.1.10) The “hosting” event dictates what could be achieved. However, review and validation of the original WP2 FGs gave a reasonable amount of confidence that for the SESERV FGs audio recordings and transcripts were sufficient for detailed analyses.

3.1.12 Length and Payment 3.1.12.1 Length We decided that the timeslot of the focus groups had to be less than two hours. Within that period sufficient time was to be found for the completion of a pre- and post-group
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questionnaire as well as any post-group debriefing, if used. The group itself would not run longer than an hour and half, therefore. Even if the group was going very well and the group members appeared very enthusiastic, the facilitator was asked to wind things up after 90 minutes (Bloor et al [1], p.53). Any planned short pre-group questionnaire and focusing exercises were designed to fit into the overall timeslot. At all costs, the facilitator had to avoid the premature departure of some group members, altering the composition and dynamics of the group; such premature departures would be increasingly likely as time goes by (Bloor et al [1], p.53). In the event, there were some new comers to the Athens groups, but they were not allowed to disrupt the discussion already under way. 3.1.12.2 Payment The convention of paying a fee to focus group members probably stems from focus groups’ commercial history in market research, where the fee offered by market researchers is a considerable aid to recruitment, especially among the young and disadvantaged. Against the convention of offering a fee to attendees in academic focus group research, it may be objected that ethnographies and depth interviews may also cut deeply into the research subjects’ free time, but in these cases no fee is sought or offered (Bloor et al [1] , pp.53-54). However, focus group members may also incur additional expenses not incurred by participation in studies using other methods – transport costs to the venue, possible loss of earnings, the possible need to make child care arrangements, etc. So the attendance fee for group members in academic social research is generally termed an ‘attendance allowance for out-of-pocket expenses’ (currently around €15 to €25 per person). When no fee is paid it may be possible to offer thanks in kind (light refreshments). Within SESERV, we considered whether or not to pay the participants an attendance allowance or equivalent incentive. However, since the intention was to run focus groups at suitable, related events, participants would already be on site and available. We decided therefore to confine “payment” to a small thank you by way of refreshments provided during the groups themselves14.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened As above (Section 3.1.10) Scheduling (as discussed above in Section 3.1.11) had to be done within the constraints of the overall event programme. Payment was not made, beyond refreshments (e.g. breakfast at the first WP3 FG).

3.1.13 Tools and Techniques 3.1.13.1 Pre- and Post-Group Self-Completion Questionnaires Some basic socio-demographic information such as age and marital status are typically gathered for analysis purposes and this may be most appropriately collected immediately before the group starts. For the SESERV focus groups, this is of little relevance. More important is the perceived and actual background of the participants: do they represent stakeholders of a given type from the FI ecosystem, for instance? How has this affected

14

For example, the WP3 FG in Oxford was organised early in the morning and participants were offered breakfast,

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their contributions and their interactions with others? The detailed transcripts used such information as stakeholder type to identify and thereby anonymise the participants’ contributions. An a priori questionnaire was to be developed to establish how participants felt about their own rôle in respect of the FI ecosystem, and where there main interests lay. Further an a posteriori questionnaire was to be used to gauge how and if their views had changed during the discussion. In the event, this was not done: recruitment (see Section 3.1.8 above) had proved challenging, and with the exception of the SESERV Athens Workshop focus groups19, those participating had well-defined ideas from their own project participation and experience as well as the fact that they were taking time out of a business event schedule. In consequence, questionnaires before or after the FGs were not used. 3.1.13.2 Presentation Material The requirement for WP2 and WP3 are rather different here. For the economic, networkcentric focus groups, seeding discussion with solutions proposed by existing FI technology providers would help initiate and bound proceedings. By contrast, since participants for the societally focused groups may not have much generalised experience of Digital Agenda obstacles and the broader challenges facing the FI, it would be helpful to give a short introduction about the main issues. For the facilitators an additional text above and beyond the presentation material was to be provided. The intention of this material was to aid the facilitator in moderating the discussion where they may not be expert in all areas of relevance. For WP2, this was done in part via the presentation given by the individual projects to initiate discussion at each FG, where the facilitator was already engaged with the project. For WP3, it transpired that participants were already very much engaged in related FI discussions, not least from observations at the parallel events themselves; briefing would not therefore be of any particular benefit and may be counterproductive. It was apparent for all FGs in both WPs that this did not appear to hinder participation.
Issue(s) for SESERV Participants drawn from attendees at the “hosting” event can be expected to be motivated and reasonably knowledgeable and experienced within the domain. The value of questionnaires and introductory presentations is therefore debatable. The two WPs adopted different approaches. WP2, working within networkcentric tussles, could make use of appropriate project presentations to seed discussion; for WP3, participants were assumed to be comfortable with the area and with discussing FI issues; so no specific materials were needed.

What happened

3.1.14 Discussion 3.1.14.1 List of Issues For the facilitators it will be important to have a list of issues at hand that need to be discussed, so that the different focus groups will all deal with the same topics. Otherwise comparison during the analysis phase will become almost impossible. It is important not to have too many issues that need to be discussed. The time is limited and we want all the participants to be able to say what is of importance to them as individuals or within their own domain. As mentioned above, WP2 seeded each focus group with a project presentation. In Athens, a number of different projects kicked off three different
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discussions15; however, in Aalborg, the focus group revisited the subject matter of one of the Athens groups, beginning with the same project presentation. The WP3 focus groups made use of a short list of questions to help steer the discussion. 3.1.14.2 Focusing Exercises It is possible to distinguish focus groups from group interviews. In group interviews, the group is asked a sequence of pre-determined questions, just as if the interviewer were speaking to a single interviewee: the group format is simply a matter of convenience. By contrast, for focus groups pre-determined questions may also be asked, but the objective is not primarily to elicit the group’s response but rather to stimulate discussion and thereby understand the meanings and norms that underlie those group answers. In group interviews the interviewer seeks answers, in focus groups the facilitator also seeks group interaction (Bloor et al [1], p.42). The facilitator’s questions are thus a ‘focusing exercise’: an attempt to concentrate the group’s attention and interaction on a particular topic. The exercise need not, and frequently does not, take the form of a question, instead the group may be required to perform a specific task. One commonly used type of focusing exercise is a ranking exercise: the group is offered a list of statements and asked to agree among themselves a ranking of the statements in order of importance. Different groups will commonly produce differences in rankings. But more importantly, the discussion about the rankings itself serves to illustrate the deep differences (along with some important similarities) in the tacit understandings of each different group (Bloor et al [1], p.43). A number of ranking exercises could have been developed for the SESERV focus groups: such focusing exercises may be useful because they may give impetus to group interaction. Also the ‘props’ of the exercise (the printed cards lying on the table) may themselves provide a convenient reminder of the group’s task and thus a silent guard against straying into irrelevancies. The task itself can also function as an ice-breaker, to help participants become comfortable if they are discussing in a group setting for the first time. For the SESERV focus groups and as discussed in the sections above, there were a number of practical considerations to be taken into account here: i. Group session experience: FG participants can be thought of as knowing each other either directly or via knowledge of the field of study and/or past work. There should therefore be little reason to impose an additional activity as an ice-breaker; Seeding exercises: since participants had chosen to attend the parallel or associated event, it was felt that any seeding exercise to initiate discussion could be kept to a minimum; Common background a. FI Ecosystem: since they are engaged in or have knowledge of Challenge 1 projects, all of the WP2 FG participants could be expected to have some familiarity with the domain, as well as be motivated to examine it further;

ii.

iii.

15

The first two focus groups at the SESERV Athens workshop each began with a presentation from each of two projects; the third group began with a single project. Refer to deliverable D1.4: Second Year report on Scientific Workshops for the specific projects and topics covered.

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b. Socio-economic awareness: with direct knowledge through project or related work in the area, WP3 FG participants could be expected to know of the socio-economic concerns surrounding the Future Internet not least through the TAFI report17 and the final reports of the Study on the Social Impact of ICT16. The different WPs adopted slightly different approaches in this respect. For WP2, FG attendance was largely drawn from those involved directly or otherwise with Challenge 1 projects and with a view to finding representation from all relevant FI Ecosystem stakeholders. Each FG was initiated with one or two project-related technical presentations, which was regarded as sufficient focusing exercise. For WP3, FGs were based around related events; participants were drawn from event delegates and therefore by definition would be motivated in the domain as well as often having some experience of working with or reviewing the work of other participants. In consequence, focusing exercises were kept to a minimum: in Aalborg, a figure from the TAFI report17 was used to initiate and focus discussion in emphasising who may be currently driving the development of FI technology and who should actually be driving. 3.1.14.3 Input for Analysis After some of the focus group sessions, participants were given a questionnaire to complete: for WP2 and the initial focus groups at the SESERV Athens Workshop, this was no more than part of the overall workshop feedback. For both WP2 and WP3, the audio recordings of the discussions themselves were transcribed and then reviewed by work package partners across both WP2 and WP318. The advantage of using transcripts of direct recordings is that there is no need to have a scribe present at the event who may or may not capture everything of relevance, or may indeed misinterpret points being made. Having video as well as audio recordings of the interactions means that it is far easier to gauge and deal appropriately with the dynamics of the group involved. In the end, this was not always a practical option not least because of the locations used for the events we capitalised on to organise the FGs. The SESERV Athens Workshop FGs19 were captured in video, since we were sole organisers of the event. The Oxford and FIA Aalborg FGs however were not. From the experience of the SESERV Oxford Workshop breakout sessions13, though, we were confident that the audio transcriptions would suffice. The original intention was for the transcripts to be reviewed and conclusions drawn by two different work package members to validate interpretation. For practical reasons, this was not done for all FGs. Notwithstanding the fact that WP3 partners already had experience with the technique, it was decided to use the SESERV Athens Workshop FGs to explore the usefulness of review. Transcripts of the three focus groups at that event were reviewed by a WP3 partner in parallel with the WP2 analyses. Since the analyses were effectively the same, it was decided that there was no on-going need for validation reviews. The final analyses represent common conclusions on the discussions as well as dynamics of the groups themselves, with the intention of examining how those who build and those who study the FI interact. In addition, of course, we were able to explore how a disparate group

16 17

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/docs/eda/social_impact_of_ict.pdf http://www.internetfutures.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/TAFI-Final-Report.pdf 18 The work packages collaborated in the interpretation of the first focus groups in Athens to ensure consistency of interpretation and the identification of appropriate issues. For subsequent focus groups, validation remained within the individual work packages. 19 https://sites.google.com/site/seservtest1/athens-ws-1/focus-groups

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comes together to discuss the FI as well as the terms and language they use. Bringing together all stakeholders and trying to establish a common language were the main starting point for these initial focus groups as identified in the preparatory survey.
Issue(s) for SESERV What happened See Section 3.1.13

3.1.15 Summary of Focus Groups Drawing together the general information and approaches suggested in the literature on focus groups as presented in the preceding sections, WP2 and WP3 applied a common and generic methodology in slightly different ways as suited their participants and subject matter. Below is a summary for each work package. 3.1.15.1 WP2: Economically Based Focus Groups
Method Date of 1 set of 3 focus groups Location of 1 set of 3 focus groups Date of 4 focus group Location of 4 focus group Number of focus groups Group size Group composition
th th st st

Focus groups During the SESERV Athens Workshop

During the Aalborg FIA Event 4 Target: 8 to 15 Representatives of the FI ecosystem, especially technology providers and those engaged in network management and research

Recording Length Payment Tools Input for Analyses

Audio recording at least; video recording wherever possible 1.5 hours for discussion with seeding presentation material; 2 hours in total None Questionnaire, presentation material, explicit stakeholder rôle adoption; consent forms Transcripts and summaries from the focus group meetings, along with the audio tapes. Only summary information will be made publically available

The WP2 focus groups were planned to have larger numbers of participants and to be more focused on specific network-related issues (tussles); encouraging participants into specific stakeholder rôles would provoke useful discussion and perhaps identify tussles and highlight spillovers, as was the case. Topics tended to include more than one issue from the online survey, grouping those individual topics first into generalised areas, and then as appropriate to specific tussle types and themes.

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3.1.15.2

WP3: Societally Based Focus Groups
Method Date of 1 focus groups Location of 1 focus groups Number of focus groups Group size Group composition
st st

Focus groups During related events such as the Oxford Digital Social Research 2 Target: 4 to 8 Representatives of the FI ecosystem stakeholders, including technology developers as well as technology users and social-scientists
20

and the Aalborg FIA

21

Events

Recording Length Payment Tools Input for Analyses

Audio recording 1 hours for discussion; 2 hours in total None Questionnaire, lists of issues; focusing exercises; consent forms Transcripts and summaries from the focus group meetings, along with the audio tapes. Only summary information will be made publically available

The WP3 focus groups were smaller and directed more to general societal issues as identified directly from the results of an online survey of the cross-sectorial themes and tussles which became apparent in the various engagements of Year 1.

3.2

Online Survey: Focus Group Topic Selection

Based on the fifteen topics referred to above, an online survey (http://seserv.limequery.com) was organised, in which respondents were asked to rank a selection of fifteen FI topics in order of importance: respondents simply dragged the statement to the appropriate position (from top to bottom). In practice, respondents restricted their ranking choices to the top five. The topics were: 8 cross-sectorial themes identified in the Oxford workshop and analysed in [10]; and 7 as the most common tussle groups, identified in [8] The topics from the SESERV Oxford workshop may be termed “social” in nature; and those reported with tussle groupings “economic”. However, there was a certain overlap in some cases: for instance, a concern around sensitive data was raised both in terms of tussles (in broadly economic terms) as well as during discussions at Oxford. These shared topics may be viewed therefore as “socio-economic”. The topics of all three types (economic, social and socio-economic) are listed in Table 1 below. In addition, participants were asked whether they would be prepared to get involved with focus-group-based discussion; they were asked to select between: I do not wish to participate in any focus groups
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http://www.digitalsocialresearch.net/wordpress/archives/1005 http://www.future-internet.eu/events/eventview/article/future-internet-assembly-aalborg.html

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Economic issues only Social issues only Both social and economic issues Of the 59 respondents, only one did not specify a preference. In addition, respondents were asked to leave their contact details, with a view to inviting them for further comment or even direct participation in the focus group discussions. Although an optional field, only seven out of the 59 respondents left no contact details. 3.2.1 Results The survey was formally closed on 20th December, 2011. Those who had left contact details were sent an email thanking them for their participation. Unless they stated they did not wish to participate in focus groups, they were told that they would be contacted after the holiday period. The results of the survey are summarised in Table 1 below, showing overall scores and rankings (the top five), as well as a secondary ranking showing the top socio-economic topic, the top two economic and top two social issues according to some 59 respondents. Table 2 explains the keys used in Table 1, while Table 3 lists results regarding respondents’ preference to attend to specific topics. Table 1: Ranking of Socio-economic Themes
TOPIC How network security is achieved The effect of polarised positions in discussions around the FI on future developments How access to sensitive data is handled Achieving appropriate and efficient routing across networks Whether there is a need for more user-centricity and control in the design and use of online services Who is responsible for agreement violation across networks How we clarify digital rights (including copyright, privacy, and so forth) The importance of increased transparency of data and systems to end-users How interconnection agreements between ISPs are resolved The importance of multi-disciplinary collaboration to the success of the Future Internet How content and service delivery are controlled How scarce resources are shared How important it is to have global regulatory frameworks for the FI The importance of enabling the increase in digital literacy (skill and knowledge around the FI) The need to solve the lack of common terms and vocabularies around the FI, services and networks
Area Score Rank R2

E.1 S.2 SE.3 E.4 S.5 E.6 SE.7 S.8 E.9 S.10 SE.11 E.12 SE.13 S.14 S.15

61 29 90 40 90 30 56 69 26 126 64 56 29 62 42 1 5 4 2= 2=

E1

SE1 S2

S1

E2

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Table 2: Explanation of Keys Used in Table 1
Topic Area The specific tussle group (for economic issues: see D2.1) or cross-sectorial theme (for societal issues, see D3.1). E = economic only; S = societal only; SE = both economic and societal (these are issues which appeared to be common across both areas); the digit after the Topic Area (eg. E.1, S.2, and so forth) is simply the order in which the topics were presented in the online survey. Cumulative score across all respondents. The survey asked respondents to select the 5 most important of the 15 topics. A topic which was selected as “most important” (first in the respondent’s rankings) was assigned 5, the next most important (second in the rankings) 4, and so on down to 1 for the fifth most important. A cumulative score of 25 across five respondents would therefore indicate a topic that was ranked most important by all five respondents. This is the overall ranking of the topics: 1 is assigned to that topic which received the highest overall cumulative score, and so on down to 5 (since there are to be five focus groups). The a priori plan was to have two economic, two societal and one socio-economic focus group. The rankings in this column identify the two top economic themes (E1 and E2), the two top societal themes (S1 and S2), and the top socio-economic theme (SE1).

Score

Rank

R2

Table 3: Preference for Attendance to Specific Topic Areas I do not wish to participate… Both social and economic issues Social issues only Economic issues only TOTAL 10 42 2 5 22 59

Figure 1: Spread of Responses Across the Domains of Socio-Economic, Economic and Societal Themes (N=59 of whom 7 left no name)

22

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A total of 29023 ratings were made, distributed as shown in Figure 1. Given the number of topics within a given category, the expectation would have been that 26.67% of responses would go to Socio-Economic, 33.33% to Economic, and 40% to Societal topics; as shown in the figure, some 2.5% and 5.9% more responses were received for Socio-Economic and Societal topics respectively, whereas Economic topics attracted some 8.5% less than expected.

Figure 2: Average Rating for the Fifteen Topics (1=low priority; 5=highest priority24) Figure 2 shows the rating results per category (Economic, Societal and Socio-Economic): the average rating for each topic was calculated over the total number of responses for that topic and is shown above each individual column. The overall average rating for Economic, Societal and Socio-Economic topics is overlaid on the individual columns. The spread of interest is difficult to interpret in any simple way. What, for instance, should be made of the strength of opinion of a given issue: 40 out of the 59 respondents rated Multidisciplinary collaboration around the mid-point, 3; yet only 8 out of 59 rated Polarised views higher at 3.5. Should the 3-rating by 40 respondents count more? It may be possible to apply some kind of weighting to the average rankings, for example based on the number of responses in each case which might be assumed to provide some indication of how important really is across the community. To start with, though, it was decided simply to present the unweighted average. Figure 3 shows the average ratings in rank order, with the topic marked with the highest priority to the left and that with the lowest to the right. The spread is from 2.50, the rating for Efficient Routing, to 3.82 in respect of the need for a Common Vocabulary. Of the top five rated topics, four are societal in nature and one economic.

23

The expectation would be 5 x 59 = 295; however, one respondent did not rate the topics, but only expressed a preference on the type of discussion they would engage in. 24 No individual topic was given an average 5 (“highest priority”) rating. The scales in this and the following figures therefore extends to 4 only.

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Figure 3: Average Ratings as in Figure 2, Ordered from the Topic Judged Most Important Down to Least Important Simply ordering the topics on the basis of average rating begins to suggest a possible topic grouping, at least in the sense of some common concerns and themes. Table 4 suggests some common issues and areas of interest which relate to the ordered topics, grouped into the top, middle and bottom five in terms of overall ranking. Roughly speaking, the top five seem to relate to bringing together experts, users and technologists to discuss the Future Internet (FI) in terms that can be understood by all. The next five suggest the types of challenges facing service and content delivery in the FI. The bottom five, finally, could be classed as topics of network management. Table 4: Topic Groupings and Discussion Areas Suggested
Topics in order of priority Common vocabulary Polarised Views Network Security User-centricity Multi-disciplinary collaboration Coverage and focus Getting all sides talking: the top-rated five topics seem to relate to issues of how to get the users and all relevant experts and technologists to discuss issues. “Network Security” seems slightly at odds with the overarching concern about getting all relevant parties into discussion. It could, however, be taken as one of the main issues affecting Future Internet (FI) usage: how can I guarantee my transactions/credentials/content is safe? This is a clear candidate for a review of what all interested parties think. Specific challenges in service delivery: the second set of topics seem to be able how we make sure that content and services are well received and can be managed appropriately (“Content and service delivery”). We are talking here about getting the best out of the services: users
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Agreement violations Sensitive data Scarce resource sharing Digital Literacy Content and service delivery
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Increased transparency Global regulation Interconnection agreements Digital Rights Efficient Routing

need to know how to interact with FI services (“Digital Literacy”), their data need to be handled appropriate (“Sensitive Data”), and this will involve the exploitation of limited resources (“Scarce resource sharing”) and what should be done if the sought for level of service is not met (“Agreement Violation”). Service and infrastructure management: the third and final group of topics revolves around regulation and management. This set reflects concerns about dealing with services and content that are passed across different providers and even states. For this to succeed, there needs to be some common framework in support of user expectations and their rights in using the FI.

3.3

Socio-economic Topics: WP-specific Selections

In selecting topics for the initial focus groups from the results of the online survey as well as in connection with the generalised topics for discussion, different approaches suggest themselves depending on the point of view of potential participants. 3.3.1 SESERV Athens Workshop: Network-centric Concerns For the initial focus groups that have taken place as part of the SESERV Athens workshop, participants generally came from the level of networks: economically directed focus groups should bear this in mind. Further, they have some familiarity with tussle approaches, and the issues they identify. WP2 took account of these interests and motivations in planning their workshops. Relating cross-sectorial themes, general discussion areas and network-based tussles, Table 5, refers back to the topics as selected from the online survey, along with the generalised issues in Table 4, and relates them to the network-centric perspective provided by related tussles as previously identified. Table 5: Relating Potential Topics for Discussion with a Network-centric View and the Individual Cross-cutting Themes of the Online Survey
General Area of Discussion Getting all sides talking Specific challenges in service delivery Related tussles at the network level User-centricity and transparency of Future Internet technologies Content and service delivery architectures for the Future Internet Related topics from online survey S.5; S.8; S.10; E4; E12 E.1;SE.3; E.4; SE.7; SE.11

Service and infrastructure management

Interconnection agreements and monitoring

E.4; E.6; E.9

For the Athens workshop held on January 31st, 2012, with its emphasis on the relevance of tussle analysis to networks and network issues like net neutrality, regulation, and appropriate metrics for traffic management, grouping the individual themes and relating them to generalised themes as well as network-focused tussles provides coverage for a broad range of themes. Participants were drawn from the attendees at the workshop who were allocated to each of the three topics and invited to select any one of a range of FI ecosystem stakeholders.
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Similarly, the WP2 focus group collocated with the FIA Aalborg on May 11th, 2012 centred on “service and infrastructure management” with a special focus on gaming services, covering multiple themes from the online survey. This time, the 8 participants were invited from the list of delegates at the FIA Aalborg event. Although based on the third topic in the table above, there was a greater emphasis in Aalborg on gaming: two of the participants were from this domain and expressed robust views during the discussion. 3.3.2 Societally-based Themes In contrast, for the societally based focus groups in WP3, participants came from a broader range of projects and FI interests: there was more scope to stick to the generalised cross-sectorial themes and those ranked as the most important by the sample of respondents. The main topics, based directly on the survey above, focused initially on the top two areas identified in the survey: 1. User-centricity and control in the design and use of online services 2. The importance of multi-disciplinary collaboration to the success of the Future Internet Two focus groups were planned to be held at: 1. Digital Social Research, A Forum for Policy and Practice, Oxford, UK (13 Mar 2012). Topic: Multi-disciplinary collaboration 2. Future Internet Assembly meeting in Aalborg, Denmark (10-11 May 2012). Topic: User-centricity.

3.4

Conclusions on Focus Group Methodology from SESERV

In view of the previous sections, and specifically the methodology description and observations in Section 0, a number of recommendations and conclusions may be made. These are outlined in this section.
FLEXIBILITY The overall Focus Group Methodology as defined in the literature should be tailored to the specific needs of any individual focus group or area. Refer to passim

Venue EXPLOIT LOCAL CONTEXT

Participants

Exploiting related events and using the same venue has many advantages, not least in providing a known setting for a more relaxed discussion. However, this does mean that the scheduling of the FGs may have to occur before or after the main event, which may affect participation. Using parallel or related events helps with recruitment and logistics: participants are a priori motivated and interested in the general theme of the event and so will be knowledgeable about the area of discussion, and can be expected to be able to make some useful contribution not least from the perspective of why they came to

Section 3.1.10

Sections 3.1.3, 3.1.4, 3.1.5, 3.1.6 and 3.1.8

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Dominant voice

Focus/seeding activities

In Advance

RECRUITMENT

Targeted Payment

Stakeholders

the event, their expectations and what they have got from the event. This was not found to be a particular issue for the SESERV Focus Groups; perhaps this was on account of participants being known to each other and familiar with the modus operandi of other participants. There may be less of need for focusing exercises not least because: • participants will typically have some knowledge and/or experience of each other; • participants can be expected to know about the general domain; • participants will be motivated to discuss their experiences and opinions. Blanket and non-specific advertisement of the focus groups may not have attracted participation, not least because delegates at the host event will tend to be caught up in their own preparations. Identifying stakeholder rôles in advance and making sure they are represented may help establish to whom invitations should be directed. Because of competing schedules (such as the event programme where the FGs are being held), there is some motivation to provide actual payment to ensure enough and appropriate participation. Explicit (WP2) or implicit stakeholder representation may not be guaranteed. This should be addressed during recruitment, possibly by targeting participation.

Sections 3.1.3, 3.1.4, 3.1.5, 3.1.6 and 3.1.8 Section 3.1.13

Sections 3.1.8, 3.1.10 and 3.1.14

Sections 3.1.8, 3.1.10 and 3.1.14 Section 3.1.12.2

Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.6 (see also Sections 3.1.13 and 3.1.14)

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4 Summary and Conclusions
This report summarises the general approach to running focus groups as adopted by WP2 and WP3 in organising and analysing focus group discussions on a range of socioeconomic topics. Specific conclusions from the various groups are reported in individual, targeted documents [9], [11]. The rationale behind running focus groups as opposed to any other method arose from the observation at the SESERV Oxford workshop that there was an urgent need to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to discussion. Focus groups are specifically geared towards an examination of how ideas and concepts develop in a given context. A focus group approach was an ideal method to encourage such cross-disciplinary discussion. As described in the preceding sections, the focus group methodology found in the literature was reviewed and either applied directly to the SESERV focus groups, or modified in some small detail as outlined to suit the topics and group composition available to SESERV. WP2, focusing on economic issues, adopted a structured approach, seeding discussion on the basis of a Challenge 1 project presentation to describe one possible solution to the specific issues under debate. WP3 by contrast used a less formal approach, using the occasional question to spark off discussion. In both cases, conversations were lively and generated a significant set of concepts and ideas which would be worthwhile pursuing and which are developed in the corresponding deliverables in the respective work packages (e.g. [9], [11]). To begin with, as discussed in Section 3.2, an online survey was launched in an attempt to identify the priority of the themes and issues identified in Oxford. Over a number of weeks, survey respondents ranked the five most important issues from a total list of fifteen including social cross-cutting themes (discussed in [10]) and the main tussle types from the economics of networks ([8]). WP2 reviewed respondent preferences and amalgamated topics to come up with three major themes. These were discussed initially at the SESERV Athens workshop in January 2012; then one of them was given a gaming slant and revisited in Aalborg in May 2012 with different participants. WP3 by contrast took the two most highly ranked social themes and used them directly as the subject of the focus groups they ran. Overall, the focus group methodology with the stated modifications worked well: participants discussed the issues presented to them relatively freely and this led to the identification of some unexpected results. The SESERV focus groups have therefore achieved a number of objectives: 1. To bring together those who study and those who build the FI. Multiple stakeholders were involved in each of the groups, representing many different sets of interests and providing different perspectives from their own experience as well as their own projects; 2. To identify major issues which need further investigation. Although each focus group was seeded with a given idea or topic, in all cases and as expected from the methodology, other issues and concepts were explored and discussed across the participants and irrespective of their individual interests; 3. To identify those issues which need to be publicised to the community. Leading on from (2) above, the work package specific deliverables outline the consequences of the conclusions which have come out of the focus groups. Along with the outcomes of the various workshops in Oxford, Athens and Brussels, this provides a valuable body of information feeding into the FISE conversation25.

25

There are plans to provide further chapters to FIA

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References
[1] [2] [3] Bloor, M., Frankland, J., Thomas, M., Robson, K. (2001) “Focus Groups in Social Research”, SAGE Publications, London. Cronin, A. (2001) “Focus Groups” pp 165-177 in “Researching social life” Gilbert, N. (ed), SAGE Publications, London. Kitzinger, J. (1993) “Understanding AIDS: researching audience perceptions of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” pp 271-304 in “Getting the Message” Eldridge, J. (ed), Routledge, London. Kitzinger, J. (1994) “The methodology of Focus Groups: the importance of interaction between research participants” in “Sociology of Health & Illness”, Vol 16, No 1, pp 103-121. Merton, R.K., Kendall, P.L. (1946) “The focused interview” in “American Journal of Sociology”, Vol 51, pp 541-549. Morgan, D. L. (1988) “Focus groups as qualitative research”, SAGE Publications, London. SESERV Deliverable D1.4: “Second year report on Scientific Workshops”26. SESERV Deliverable D2.1: “First report on Economic Future Internet Co-ordination Activities”27. SESERV Deliverable D2.2: “Second report on Economic Future Internet Coordination Activities”.

[4]

[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

[10] SESERV Deliverable D3.1: “First report on Social Future Internet Co-ordination Activities”28. [11] SESERV Deliverable D3.2: “Second report on Social Future Internet Co-ordination Activities”. [12] Smithson, J. (2000) “Using and analysing focus groups: Limitations and possibilities” in “International Journal of Social Research Methodology”, Vol 3, No 2, pp 103-11929. [13] Webb, C., Kevern, J. (2000) “Focus groups as a research method: a critique of some aspects of their use in nursing research” in “Journal of Advanced Nursing”, Vol 33, No 6, pp 798-805, Blackwell, Oxford.

26 27

Available at: http://www.seserv.org/publications http://www.scribd.com/doc/65070802/D2-1-First-Report-on-Economic-Future-Internet-Coordination-Activities 28 http://www.scribd.com/doc/68338983/D3-1-First-Report-on-Social-Future-Internet-Coordination-Activities 29 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/136455700405172

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Abbreviations
E EC FG FI FIA FISE ICT IoT ISP QoS S SE SNS TAFI WP Economic (type of topic in the survey) European Commission Focus Group Future Internet Future Internet Architecture Future Internet Socio-Economics Information and Communications Technology Internet of Things Internet Service Provider Quality of Service Social (type of topic in the survey) Socio-economic (type of topic in the survey) Social Networking Site Towards a Future Internet Work Package

Acknowledgements
This deliverable was made possible with the generous and open help of the entire SESERV team, which may include advice and counsel from individuals employed by the respective project participants, but not acknowledged specifically in the list of authors. The authors of D1.5 offer many thanks to them all.

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