Focus Group Toolkit

In your continuing efforts to increase student success at your college, your CCSSE and SENSE data provide a great deal of information to help you identify strengths and areas in need of improvement. Generally, the data will point you to specific areas where you'll want to focus your attention. Before you begin to consider improvement strategies, it will be important to learn more about what students are reporting in their survey responses. The Center encourages colleges to hold focus groups to gather this information. The survey responses tell you the "what" about your students' experiences; in focus groups you will learn the "why." In addition to gathering specific detail about the experiences students are having, these structured discussions will also help you uncover possible strategies to consider for improvement.

Provided below is the Center's Focus Group Toolkit, which details the Center's approach to organizing focus group discussions with community college students, faculty, and staff.

Discussion guides are also available based on topics relevant to the community college field.


Focus Group Guide


A. Campus Coordinator Checklist

B. Room Set-Up

C. Video Taping Guidelines

D. Invitation E-mails

E. Consent Forms

F. Profile Sheets

G. Response Sheets

H. Sample Focus Group Report

Sample Focus Group Discussion Guides

Entering Students

Returning Students


Student Services Staff

Student Financial Health

Part-Time Students

Full-Time Students

On Student Part-Timeness: Faculty Discussion Guide


Center for Community College Student Engagement
—a Research and Service Initiative—
Program in Higher Education Leadership | Department of Educational Leadership and Policy  | College of Education
The University of Texas at Austin
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