Health library benchmarking focus group session

This short focus group session gives the participants a possibility to take part in a benchmarking project of three health libraries by commenting and discussing benchmarking as a method.

What is a focus group?

A focus group is a moderated discussion with 5 to 10 participants. The purpose of focus groups is not consensus building, it is to obtain a range of opinions from a representative set of people to create a picture of the attitudes, beliefs, desires, and reactions to concepts that exist among the participants.

The idea behind the method is to create a context for group interaction in which participants “play ball” with each other. Input from others and evoking thoughts, stimulates creativity and interpretation. The method is useful not only to find the range of views, but also for the participants to learn from each other, and to generate a sense of social cohesion.

In such groups, usually some people take a more dominant role than others do, and some are more modest with their views. Each user’s point of view is of interest and it is the moderator’s task to encourage each user to express their unique points of view. The moderators also have the responsibility to steer the conversation in order to maintain a focus on themes and issues to be covered.

A semi-structured interview guide structures the discussion. This makes the conversation open and flexible so that one can follow threads and details that arise. An advantage when using focus group is to observe the participants’ reactions and study the discussions that occur between different participants. This can give an extra dimension to the discussions.

Focus group is a qualitative method, the results cannot be generalized to a population (e.g. all participants at the EAHIL workshop), but can say something about trends and point out features and patterns that recur.

Focus group on benchmarking

In our session we look for perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes about

  1. our benchmarking project so far, see
  2. the pros and cons of data comparison
  3. the pros and cons of site visits, see
  4. the possibilities of implementing best/good practices, see
  5. how the project should proceed
  6. something else that emerges during the session

We will take notes but participants will also be asked to put a word or two on post-it notes. We will then sum-up the results in a blog post after the workshop.

If you will be attending our workshop session, please, before Friday 12th June, 2015, introduce yourself very shortly (name, organization, main tasks) by commenting this post. You can also very shortly explain why you chose this session.


8 thoughts on “Health library benchmarking focus group session

  1. Hi, my name is Isla and I’m Medical Librarian at the University of Cambridge Medical Library. I am involved in quality assessment of the library for NHS standards (lots of health libraries being able to compare themselve), but I’m also interested in benchmarking standards from a University perspective, and particularly from a multi-disciplinary basis (is it possible to compare standards of service across subject specific libraries?). Looking forward to this workshop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, I’m Elaine and I’m Reader Services Librarian at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. I perform literature searches for our staff and members, and for the guidelines published by the College. I’m interested in focus groups as a way of identifying our user needs, and the benchmarking process because I have seen on recent visits to other librarfies how much we can learn from each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, My name is Marie and I am the Library director of Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. As it is important to do the right thing at the hospital, using benchmarketing and focus groups are two different methods to learn what the library can do to keep updated and preparing for the future. I choose this session as I am very interested in hearing what you have learnt in your benchmarking project as we are planning new libraries in the next few years and it will help our planning to learn what you found important during your project.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello, my name is Hans, a medical information specialist at VU university Medical Center Amsterdam. I hope to hear more about benchmarking in general and also in detail about benchmarking literature research for systematic reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello, my name is Joëlle. I am librarian at the Haute école de travail social et de la santé in Lausanne, that is part of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Western Switzerland.
    I’m interested in discovering benchmarking to find out how to improve some of our services, for example : the marketing of our “hardly visible” electronic resources or the right tool (facebook, twitter…) to communicate. Looking forward to hear and share experiences with the focus group !


  6. Hi! I am Emma, I work at the Biomedical- and Medical libraries at Uppsala university in Sweden (the Medical library is at the hospital and the Biomedical at the campus where most of the students are). I am also interested in hearing more about and discussing benchmarking as a method. And I am interested in the question about site visits and the library as a physical space.


  7. Hi, I’m Bente, I work at Telemark university college in Porsgrunn/Norway. I look forward to learn more about benchmarking as a method and to hear about your experiences from this project.


  8. Pingback: Focus! — said the focus group | Benchmarking project of three European health libraries

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