Resource Utilization Focus Groups


Rebecca Sandefur, Professor, Department of Sociology, Stanford University


Professor Sandefur’s research focuses on people’s experiences as they decide how to handle economic or legal problems in their lives. In particular, she investigates differences between poor and non-poor persons’ responses to those situations, and the specific case of opportunities not taken although they are available.

The UWSC has conducted ten focus groups (four in Madison, Wisconsin, and six in Peoria, Illinois) to gather information on these topics. The project has required telephone recruitment of participants in specified income categories. One unique challenge for these groups has been to elicit discussion of times when a person took no action or decided against a certain response to a problem. Successful collection of focus group data on these “non-events” has been achieved through pilot testing and ongoing collaborative development of questions, careful moderation, and research on social services in the cities studied.


Robert Cradock


Fall 2005, Fall 2007