Archived — Canadian Biotechnology Strategy
BioPortal Focus Groups

Archived Information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Back to main page

Prepared for: Industry Canada
February 2007

Contract number: U2155-061833/001/CY
Contract Date: November 9, 2006
POR number: 247-06

Confidentiality
Any material or information provided by Industry Canada and all data collected by Decima will be treated as confidential by Decima and will be stored securely while on Decima's premise (adhering to industry standards and applicable laws).

Decima Research

Toronto
2345 Yonge Street
Suite 405
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 2E5
Telephone:
416-962-2013
Fax: 416-962-0505
Ottawa
160 Elgin Street
Suite 1820
Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 2P7
Telephone:
613-230-2200
Fax: 613-230-9048
Montreal
1080 Beaver Hall Hill
Suite 400
Montreal, Quebec
H2Z 1S8
Telephone:
514-288-0037
Fax: 514-288-0138
Vancouver
21 Water Street
Suite 603
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6B 1A1
Telephone:
604-642-2295
Fax: 604-642-2549


Decima Research Inc. is ISO 9001:2000 Certified


Table of Contents


Introduction

Decima Research is pleased to present the following report to Industry Canada highlighting the results of the recently completed qualitative research about the BioPortal website.

The BioPortal was created to provide Canadians with one-window access to government information holdings on biotechnology and other related issues via the Internet. The BioPortal is managed by the Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat.

The BioPortal has five major components:

  • BioBasics;
  • BioRegulations;
  • BioStrategy;
  • BioGateway; and
  • BioGov.

In March 2005, the Secretariat conducted qualitative research about the BioPortal. Based on this research, numerous features were added and enhancements were made to the site. In recent months, more information has been brought forward by federal departments for potential introduction to the site.

The Secretariat wanted to conduct focus groups to obtain feedback from Canadians on potential content for the site, as well as testing potential new ways of organizing the site, as part of its efforts to continually improve the BioPortal and its content.

More specifically, the objectives of the research were to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of which sources of information on biotechnology the public uses when they seek to know more about the processes and applications of emerging technologies;
  • Gather in-depth insight into how the public views the Government of Canada as a source for this information;
  • Evaluate specific components of the design, content, and navigation of the BioPortal, including the new BioGov module as well as the redesign of the homepage; and
  • Analyze the information needs and requirements of the Canadian public with respect to biotechnology and emerging technologies in order to elucidate how to best communicate this information to them.

This report is based on four evenings of focus groups with Canadians in the following cities:

  • Halifax;
  • Montreal;
  • Winnipeg; and
  • Vancouver.

One session in each city consisted of a segment called "Involved Canadians". This segment of the population is considered to be key opinion leaders on issues and makes up about 30% of the population. Sessions in Montreal were conducted in French and all other sessions were led in English.

This report begins with an executive summary followed by a summary analysis of the research results. Appended to this report are the recruitment screener and moderation guide.

Any questions regarding this report can be directed to:

Communications and Marketing Branch
Industry Canada
C.D. Howe Building
Room 204E, 235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0H5
Canada
Telephone: 613-943-2545
Fax: 613-952-5162
Email: ResearchAdvertising_RecherchePublicite@ic.gc.ca

top of page

Executive Summary

This report presents the findings from four evenings of focus groups in Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Vancouver among Canadians to evaluate Industry Canada's BioPortal website.

Outlined below are the key findings from the research.

  1. Most participants in these sessions have not actively sought out information about biotechnology in the past. Having said that, they will research topics related to biotechnology if it has some sort of impact on them directly. For instance, participants researched topics related to colon cancer, umbilical cord storage, diabetes, and other health-related issues that affect them directly, either personally, or a member of their family.
  2. The Government of Canada is considered to be a credible source of information about biotechnology. While credible, most do not instinctively see the government being the "go to" for information. Instead, they will begin a search with Google and work from there. They are also more likely to go to websites that are directly related to the information they are seeking. This is most often the case when looking for health information — where they will go to an association's website.
  3. There is little to no awareness or profile of the BioPortal, so if it is going to serve its purpose, some steps need to be taken to raise awareness among Canadians. Indeed, none of the participants in any of the cities had heard of the BioPortal before the sessions and consequently none have visited it to search for information.
  4. On the whole, participants were generally positive about the BioPortal and the information it contained. They were quite complimentary about the overall look and feel of the website in terms of the layout, content, and colours used. However, they do believe the section names and some of the navigational features could be improved. Although they make a number of suggestions about the site, these are minor formatting tweaks and should not be viewed as a negative impression of the Portal.
  5. There is a strong sense among participants that the Government needs to publicize this website. They strongly believe that the Government should be promoting this site to Canadians. Moreover, they understand that money would be required to do this, and this trade-off is acceptable to them. One recommended avenue is to publicize this site through schools. More often than not, participants highly praised this site and thought it would be an excellent resource for students of all ages.
top of page

Key Findings

Circumstances for Searching for Biotechnology Information

For the most part, participants in the sessions do not search for information about biotechnology. For them, the key driver for researching information on the Internet is if it's something that they are directly affected by or genuinely interested in. And, for the most part, biotechnology does not fall into either of these categories. Additionally, even if they saw something on the news that was interesting related to biotechnology, few said they would go and seek more information.

To further illustrate this point, while conducting the sessions in Winnipeg and Vancouver, a large news piece appeared in the local and national newspapers, as well as on television about a new method for extracting embryos for stem cell research. About half of the participants in each session saw or read this article, and few (if any) sought more information in response to something they learned about biotechnology in the media. Therefore, the driver for searching for information is participants' level of interest in a subject. Moreover, if they are seeking information on a subject that may have a biotechnology application (e.g. Diabetes), they are most likely to search for information on that subject and not biotechnology's role in that area.

Based on this, it is not surprising that none of the participants had heard of the BioPortal prior to the discussion groups. This lack of awareness is related to the fact that biotechnology is not an area that participants regularly look for information about and is not a reflection of the Portal.

One of the largest complaints among participants searching for information online is assessing the credibility of the information found. One way that participants determine the credibility of a website is the site author. For instance, most in the sessions are reluctant to consider information about pharmaceutical products from the manufacturer. Consequently, participants generally search for sites with a government extension on them (i.e. sites ending with .gc.ca). For them, information on Government of Canada websites is generally credible.

Most participants have visited a Government of Canada website at some point, and most agree that the information they find is credible. They believe that the information provided on a Government of Canada website has been verified and validated internally prior to being posted for public use. As a result of this perception, there is a sense that Government of Canada websites are more credible than other sources.

Moreover, they will also go to websites from universities, as well as associations of formal organizations for information. This is most often the case when searching for health information. Some will use multiple sources to determine if the information is credible. Specifically, they are seeking information that is consistent. Again, this is most often the case when seeking health-related information.

Although they believe Government of Canada websites are very credible, their initial starting point is always a search engine, such as Google. They will then initially scan the listings and decide where to go. If they are seeking health information, participants say they are most likely to go to a health association website. Participants say they will also follow the links provided on their initial website for more information. For them, it is a short-cut to additional information on the same subject area.


Overall Impressions of the BioPortal

Participants were generally positive about the BioPortal website. Specifically, they were impressed with the amount of information that was available through the BioPortal. In a sense, they were surprised by how much information was actually at their disposal. They were also surprised — and impressed — by how current the information on the Portal is. Indeed, some of the pages visited throughout the sessions had been updated that very day. Some expected that because this was a government website, the information contained on it may not be as up-to-date as that found on non-government sponsored sites.

Most participants thought the Portal was targeted to industry or a professional audience and not to the general public. This was for two reasons: the first is that they felt a majority of the information contained on the site was not relevant to them, particularly regulatory information. While they did not object to this information on the Portal, it led them to believe that the primary purpose of the Portal was for those directly involved in biotechnology. The second reason cited is that there was no definition of what biotechnology is on the main page. Because of this, they believe that there is an expectation to have some basic knowledge about what biotechnology is before visiting the BioPortal. We would suggest including a broad definition of biotechnology on the main page.

To a lesser degree, the use of acronyms throughout the site led participants to believe that the site was targeted to an audience that regularly researches issues related to biotechnology. In many cases, participants noticed the term "R&D" used throughout the Portal. However, at least one person in each group did not know what that acronym stood for. Therefore, it conveyed a sense that the portal was targeted to a specific knowledge-base. Our recommendation would be to include a glossary of terms for acronyms used.

Compounding this is the fact that the majority of those in the sessions had limited knowledge of biotechnology. This finding is consistent with other research that we have done in this area. Biotechnology is not a top-of-mind "new technology" for most, and when asked specifically about biotechnology, it is most commonly associated with GM foods, and stem cell research. For most then, their starting point with biotechnology is quite limited. Therefore, there needs to be a preface on the site to introduce the subject area before navigating the site to find information.

While they were generally complimentary of the portal, they did have some recommendations on how the main page could be improved to make it easier for them to use. It should be noted that these are minor modifications to the site and do not require a major overhaul of the Portal.

Screenshot of BioPortal website's main page

A majority of participants would prefer to have the home page on one screen without having to scroll down to see all of the information in that section. They feel that they could be missing important information if they don't notice the scroll bar. We would suggest, to the extent possible, compressing the site so the complete main page does not require scrolling down.

Some participants felt there was too much white space on the side of the page. For some, they were not sure if they were missing information or if the page had not loaded properly. While a few recognized that this was likely related to monitor size, most agree that it was a distraction. They recommend widening the screen to reduce the amount of white space on the right hand side.

The search box is a key benefit to the site. Indeed, a majority in the sessions say they use this feature on a site regularly, and to some extent, this is their starting point when visiting a website for the first time. They do note however, that the placement of the search box changes when navigating throughout the site. They recognize that the placement changes because it follows the sub-folders for each page on the site, but they still find it confusing. To alleviate this, they suggest moving the search box to the top left corner, so it appears in the same place regardless of what part of the portal they are in.

There was strong reaction from participants about the image shown on the main page — both positive and negative. Those who liked the image liked the reference to DNA, which they related back to biotechnology. They also liked the colours used on the site and the image of the globe within the illustration.

Those who reacted negatively to the graphic did so because they were not sure what it was supposed to represent. Some thought it was a profile shot of either a man or woman. They could not link the image to the information on the site, which led to confusion. While they liked the image of the globe on the main page, this group felt it should focus on North America, as opposed to the southern hemisphere.

Participants invited to sessions in Winnipeg and Vancouver were asked to review the portal before the groups, so they would have some familiarity with the portal before discussing it. This was useful as almost all of the participants had spent some time navigating the portal and were able to provide some valuable feedback about it.

Participants most often navigated through the site by the order of the sections and a majority visited the BioGateway section first. Intuitively however, they felt the BioBasics section makes the most sense to visit first. Their initial expectation from the name is that they would find basic information about biotechnology in this section. They felt this way because they believe BioBasics is an excellent section to get a "primer" about biotechnology. Instead, by visiting the BioGateway section first, they struggled with some of the information presented. This relates back to the fact that awareness and familiarity with biotechnology in general is limited. They believe that they would understand the site and content better if they had at least a working definition of what biotechnology is.

Some suggested that the main page include a user's guide to help those who had never been to the website before guide them through the site. They recommend having a tab with a user manual of sorts for first time visitors. Ideally, this part of the site would guide visitors where to find various pieces of information, and also outline the purpose of the Portal. The purpose of this is two-fold: First, it would provide a resource for those unfamiliar with the site to introduce the Portal and its layout. Second, it would reinforce that the Portal was created for the general public.

Another tool that they believe would help them navigate through the site is providing more clear language about what they can expect to find in each subsection and that this needs to be on the main page. Few noticed the mouse-over feature on the main page when highlighting any of the tabs. What's more, those who did notice felt that the text flashed too quickly, and that it did not provide a good enough description to allow them to decide if that is where they would find the information they were searching for. Consequently, few were able to read the description and make a decision if they would visit that section of the site. Their default was to skip that section altogether.

Additionally, some of the section names did not clearly indicate what that section of the website would contain. This was most evident with the BioGov and BioGateway sections. For most in the sessions, they did not make the connection that Government of Canada biotechnology information would be found under BioGateway. Instead, their initial reaction was that this information would be found under BioGov. Further discussions reveal that most would expect the information under BioGateway to be included under BioGov, and that the BioGov section should be renamed "BioWorld", to emphasize the fact that this information is international in scope. Our recommendation would be to rename BioGov to BioWorld, and rename BioGateway to BioGov.

Screenshot of BioGateway page on BioPortal website, showing recommended modifications to the page

Participants did like the sentences that were provided once they entered that selection. In most cases, they felt the language was clear and easy to read and understand. They also felt the paragraphs accurately described what they could expect to find in that section of the Portal. They suggest moving the paragraphs next to the titles on the main page as they provided a clear description of what they could expect to find in each section.

A majority of participants felt there was a duplication in the information on the main page. Specifically, the same menu items on the right of the page, appear as well on the left. Participants were then confused where the link was, not realizing that both would direct them to the same page. This finding was consistent throughout each section of the site explored. To this end, they suggest keeping the toolbar on the left as this is more intuitive to them, and incorporating the descriptions included in each section where the current file folder tabs are.

Having said that, participants do like the fact that the main page menu consistently appears in the bottom left of the page they are visiting. They felt that this allows them to easily navigate through different sections of the Portal.


Section-Specific Findings

Due to the number of sections on the website, not all groups explored each section. The general public groups evaluated the BioBasics and BioGateway sections, while the Involved Canadians sessions assessed the BioRegulations and BioGov sections of the BioPortal. All sections of the Portal were tested in each of the four cities.

While a majority of the findings can be generalized to the overall Portal, there were some findings and recommendations that are specific to one section of the site. These findings are presented below.

BioBasics. As mentioned above, participants were very positive about this section of the website. Particularly, they felt this section gave a comprehensive overview of the areas of biotechnology from the division of tabs in the site. They also liked how the site was organized once they selected a section. For example, they liked how when selecting the health tab, an alphabetical list of topics appeared. For most, this was a logical way of organizing the subjects and content of the site.

Participants also felt the language used in this section was appropriate and easy to understand. They thought that the language in this section was less technical than in other sections. Indeed, they imagined this section would be extremely useful especially among high school students and in fact would recommend students use this site.

While comments were generally positive, participants did point to a couple of areas for improvement. Most notable is the number of "clicks" required to reach an actual definition of biotechnology. In the groups, it took three clicks to get a definition of biotechnology. For most that are not familiar with the subject, they felt that they had to go too deep into the site before getting an overview of what biotechnology is. They felt that a definition of biotechnology was required on the main page in the site rather than where it is currently located, particularly given that few understood what biotechnology was before going to the website. We recommend that the definition be moved to the home page.

BioGov. From the home page, participants were initially unclear about what they could expect to find in this section of the Portal. Once explained that this section would provide information about biotechnology in other countries, their reaction was positive. As suggested above, they suggest re-naming this section "BioWorld" as it would be more intuitive and a better description of what they can expect to find in this section of the Portal.

Screenshot of BioGov page on BioPortal website, showing recommended modifications to the page

When navigating through the major subject areas, they related the term "links" to information outside of the Portal. Indeed, most believe that links take you outside of a website; therefore they were unclear where they would be directed. They also felt that having the term "link" under the heading was redundant. Instead, they recommend making the heading the link itself and removing the word "links". For them, this would lessen confusion about where they were being directed to and would eliminate redundancy.

When selecting the link, they like the alphabetical organization of the site. For most, this is the most logical way of organizing the large amount of information. Moreover, when delving deeper into the site, the abstracts were helpful in determining whether this was the information they were looking for or not. They also liked the fact that they could view either all the information in that section, or click on a tab for specific types of information (i.e. regulatory). However, they did find that the sheer volume of information provided was a bit overwhelming, depending on the information they were looking for.

When looking at information in BioGov from other countries, it was unclear to participants that the information presented is from government sources only. It was important for participants to know where they were being directed to for this information from other countries. This is critical for them to determine if the information provided is credible. Once it was explained that they would be directed to government websites only, they were more comfortable with the information provided in BioGov. Our recommendation is to include this information in the introduction of this section of the site.

A related topic discussed in the groups is the appropriateness of providing links to external information. There was a divide on whether it was appropriate for a government website to link to resources that are not monitored by the Government of Canada. While virtually everyone agreed that links to external corporate sites, particularly those involved in biotechnology is inappropriate, there was debate on the merits of linking to media and organizational-type resources. The most common example would be linking to news media sources such as the Globe and Mail or similar sites.

Those who are in favour of providing external links say they want to be presented with all sides of the story in order to form their own opinions on the subject. This group of people is seeking information from a variety of sources in one site. The underlying assumption is that the information presented on the Portal is an opinion and may not be perceived as factual in their eyes. For this group, it makes the Portal more credible because it is presenting the arguments that led to the decisions/policies, etc.

Those who are against the provision of external links say that it is outside the scope of the Portal, and to a certain extent inappropriate to link to resources that have not been verified by the government. The sense is that with information that is not verified, the credibility of the information and of the government is compromised. Therefore, while it might be useful to provide external links, the potential risk for linking to information that is not credible outweighs its usefulness for this group. Moreover, they understood that the government has no control over the content of the sites linked externally and their credibility may be compromised.

Few noticed the link above the information allowing participants to toggle between Canadian and international information. While they liked the idea of this capability, few said they would actually use this feature on the Portal. Primarily, as with regulations, participants are not generally looking for this kind of information when searching about biotechnology. Again, they thought this would be most useful for those in the biotechnology industry.

They believe that this feature could help promote the Canadian biotechnology industry by highlighting the advancements made in Canada compared to those in other countries. Therefore, while few noticed this feature, they could see a potential use for it.

BioGateway. As noted earlier, participants were largely unclear about what they could expect to find in this section of the BioPortal. When delving deeper into this section, participants consistently noted the index of topics as an area that was well organized. Particularly, it was intuitive to most that this section was organized alphabetically. They also appreciated that the alphabetical list remained at the top of the page when browsing through.

Screenshot of BioGov page on BioPortal website, showing recommended modifications to the page

As was the case with BioGov, few participants noticed the link at the top connecting them to information from outside of Canada. Indeed, it wasn't until they were prompted about the link that they noticed it. They were positive about the concept of comparing documents and information from other countries; however they do have some recommendations on how to improve this feature. The criticisms centered on the format of the comparison feature. Specifically, they felt there were too many windows on the screen to scroll through. This led to confusion as to where they needed to scroll down for information.

While they liked that the Canadian flag made it easy to identify the Canadian content on the site, participants would like a similar feature added for the international content. Currently, they had difficulty identifying where the information was from. What's more, it was not clear to participants that they would be leaving the BioPortal if they selected information from another country. They recommend a mechanism informing visitors if they are leaving the website.

BioRegulations. On the whole, participants spent a limited amount of time in this section of the site. For most in the sessions, they did not feel that they would need regulatory information. Instead, they believe this would be most useful for industry stakeholders and those directly involved in biotechnology. Reasons for this impression include the fact that this section of the site includes regulatory forms and documents, which they believe they are very unlikely to use.

Moreover, on the whole, participants found the language in this section of the site targeted to those with some background in biotechnology. Again, they felt the language was more technical than that in other sections of the site, leading to the conclusion that this particular aspect of the site was not intended for the general public.

top of page

Conclusions

Based on the findings of this research, we make the following conclusions.

  1. Participants in these sessions are not actively looking for information about biotechnology. Given that few raised biotechnology as a new technology, it is not surprising that participants do not look for information about biotechnology. However, they will research topics related to biotechnology if it has some sort of impact on them directly. For instance, participants researched topics related to colon cancer, umbilical cord storage, diabetes, and other health-related issues that affect them directly, either personally, or a member of their family.
  2. There is a wide breadth of information available, which to a certain extent is too much information. Most participants agree that when going online to search for information about a biotechnology issue, their launch pad is Google. Moreover, when they are searching for information specific to a disease or condition, they will often search for information at the specific association's website. The purpose of this is two-fold: first, the association is viewed as a "short-cut" when searching for information; Second, the association is considered a credible source. Further, they are generally searching for information about that disease or condition, and not about biotechnology's role for that condition.
  3. There is no awareness of the BioPortal as a comprehensive resource of government information related to biotechnology. Indeed, none of the participants had heard of the BioPortal and consequently have not visited it to search for information. However, this is likely related to the fact that they have not actively sought out information generally about biotechnology.
  4. On the whole, participants were generally positive about the BioPortal and the information it contained. They were quite complimentary about the overall look and feel of the website in terms of the layout, content, and colours used. Additionally, they believed the site contained credible information. While they are quite positive about the BioPortal, they make a variety of suggestions to help them better navigate through the site. The most common recommendation is revising the section names and providing more clear descriptions about the content that they could expect to find in each section. It is important to note that the recommended changes to the website are esthetic or require tweaking, and do not require a complete overhaul of the site.
top of page

Appendix A: Recruitment Screeners

Decima (Biotech BioPortal Winter 2006 Groups)

Questionnaire #______________
Date of Last Group_____________
 
# of previous groups___________

City: Halifax (English)

Monday December 11, 2006
Group #1: Gen Pop @6:00pm 1 $65.00
Group #2: Involved Canadians @8:00pm 2 $65.00

City: Montreal (French)

Tuesday December 12, 2006
Group #3: Gen Pop @5:30pm 3 $65.00
Group #4: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 4 $65.00

City: Winnipeg (English)

Monday January 8, 2007
Group #5: Gen Pop @5:30pm 5 $65.00
Group #6: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 6 $65.00

City: Vancouver (English)

Tuesday January 9, 2007
Group #7: Gen Pop @5:30pm 7 $65.00
Group #8: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 8 $65.00

Rec. 10

Honorarium: $65.00

Study# 90035
LD Code:

Respondent's name: ________________________________

Respondent's phone #: _______________________(home)

Respondent's phone #: _______________________(work)

Respondent's fax #: _______________________sent? or

Respondent's e-mail : _______________________sent?

Sample source (circle):   random        referral

Interviewer: __________

Date: __________

Validated: __________

Quality Central: ___

On List: _________

On Quotas: __________



Hello, my name is ____________________. I'm calling from OSI Focus Search, a national public opinion research firm. We're organizing a couple of discussion groups among residents to explore public opinions regarding current issues. Explain focus groups. About ten people like yourself will be taking part, all of them randomly recruited by telephone just like you. But before we invite you to attend, we need to ask you a few questions to ensure that we get a good mix and variety of people. May I ask you a few questions?

Yes Continue
No Ask if anyone else in the household might be interested

If not thank and terminate

If participants ask about the legitimacy of the research: You may contact Normand Laframboise at 613-947-2596 or at normand.laframboise@ic.gc.ca for more information about these discussion groups.

Participation is voluntary. We are interested in hearing your opinions, no attempt will be made to sell you anything or change your point of view. The format is a "round table" discussion lead by a research professional.


1a) Do you or any member of your household work for ….

The federal or provincial government 1
A media outlet, like a newspaper, radio or TV station 2
An advertising, public relations or market research firm 3
A Firm that designs webpages 4

If "Yes" To any of the above, Thank and terminate

1b) Are you a Canadian citizen at least 18 years old?

Yes 1 Continue
No 2 Thank and Terminate

1c) Do not ask — note gender (target a 50/50 split in all groups)

Male 1
Female 2

1d) When considering your level of Internet use, how would you categorize yourself?

I never use the Internet 1 Thank and Terminate
I am a general user, typically for checking email 2 We would like a mix
I am quite confident navigating the Internet 3
I consider myself to be an advanced user 4


2) I'd like to ask you some questions about your level of involvement in current issues, if you don't mind. For each of the following, I'd like you to tell me, with a yes or no response, whether you have done this in the last year.

  Yes No
a. Made a speech to a public audience 1 2
b. Written an article for a publication 1 2
c. Served as an officer of a club or organization 1 2
d. Written a letter to the editor 1 2
e. Called a television or radio talk show 1 2
f. Served as an officer of a non-governmental organization? 1 2
g. Written to an elected representative? 1 2
h. Been a member of or worked for a political party? 1 2
i. Expressed your views on an important issue through a website or blog? 1 2

  • – Involved Canadians will say yes to at least 3 of the 9 questions
  • – Those who yes to 1 or less of the 9 should be recruited for the Gen pop groups
  • – Take those who say 2 on hold for the Involved groups


3) And how old are you? Are you … Read list

Under 18 0 Thank and terminate
18-24 1  
25-34 years 2  
35-44 years 3 We need a mix of ages in each group
45-54 4
55-64 5
65 years and older 6
Refuse 9

3b) Could you please tell me what is the last level of education that you have completed?

Some high school only 1 Mix in each group
Completed high school 2
Some College/University 3
Completed College/University 4


4a) Are you currently….

Married/common-law 1 Mix in each group
Single/div/separated/widowed 2

4b) And what is your occupation?

___________________________________________
Terminate if occupation in Q1a

If married ask Q4C

4c) What is your spouses occupation?

__________________________________________
Terminate if occupation in Q1a


5) And is your total family income… Mix in each group

Below $30K 1
Between $30–49,999K 2
$50K–100K 3
Over $100K 4
RF/DK 9


6a) The next couple of questions deal with your imagination. Have a little fun with these questions and feel free to answer in any way, as there are no incorrect answers.

Please give me three things you can do with a paper clip besides the obvious.

___________________________________________________________

If you could meet anyone in the past or present, who would you like to meet and why?

__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

Answers spontaneously

______________very sure of himself/herself
______________Enthusiastic
______________Carries on a good conversation

Note: Pay extra attention to respondents answers — look for a complex answer. Answers should also be creative and not just answers. Look for imagination and a sense of creativity/participation.


7a) Participants in group discussions are asked to voice their opinions and thoughts, how comfortable are you in voicing your opinions in front of others? Are you (read list)

Very comfortable 1-min. 4 per group
Fairly comfortable 2  
Comfortable 3  
Not very comfortable 4} terminate
Very uncomfortable 5} terminate

7b) Have you participated in a focus group? A focus group brings together a few people in order to know their opinion about a given subject.

Yes 1 Ask Q7C and Q7D
No 2 Skip to Q8
DNK / DNA 9 Thank and terminate

7C) When did you last attend one of these discussions?

______________________________terminate if within the last 6 months

7d) Would you please tell me which topics you discussed when you attended the focus group or interviews?

____________________________________________________
If mentions anything related to biotechnology — Thank and terminate

7e) And how many of these sessions have you attended?

______________________________________________
If Q7e > 3 Thank and terminate. Otherwise continue.

As I mentioned earlier, the group discussion will take place the evening of, Day, Month, Date and Time for 2 hours and participants will receive $65 for their time. Would you be willing to attend?

Yes 1 Continue
No 2 Thank and terminate

That's great! Do you have a pen or pencil; I will provide you with some additional information.

City: Halifax (English)

Monday December 11, 2006
Group #1: Gen Pop @6:00pm 1 $65.00
Group #2: Involved Canadians @8:00pm 2 $65.00

City: Montreal (French)

Tuesday December 12, 2006
Group #3: Gen Pop @5:30pm 3 $65.00
Group #4: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 4 $65.00

City: Winnipeg (English)

Monday January 8, 2007
Group #5: Gen Pop @5:30pm 5 $65.00
Group #6: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 6 $65.00

City: Vancouver (English)

Tuesday January 9, 2007
Group #7: Gen Pop @5:30pm 7 $65.00
Group #8: Involved Canadians @7:30pm 8 $65.00

Rec. 10

Honorarium: $65.00

Study# 90035
LD Code:



Invitation:
Do you have a pen handy so that I can give you the address where the group will be held?

Halifax

Nucleus Strategy & Research
1701 Hollis Street,
Suite L108
Halifax, Nova Scotia,
B3J 3M8
Telephone: 902-428-4245
Fax: 902-425-5719

Montreal

Opinion Search
1080 Côte du Beaver Hall,
4th Floor
Montréal, Quebec,
H2Z 1S8
Telephone: 514-288-0199
Fax: 514-288-0131

Winnipeg

PRA Inc.
500-363 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba,
R3C 3N9
Telephone: 204-987-2030
Fax: 204-989-2454

Vancouver

Consumer Research Centre
1398 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia,
V6H 3W5
Telephone: 604-714-5900
Fax: 604-714-5901

We ask that you arrive fifteen minutes early to be sure you find parking, locate the facility and have time to check-in with the hosts. The hosts may be checking respondent's identification prior to the group, so please be sure to bring some personal identification with you (e.g. driver's license). Also, if you require glasses for reading, please bring them with you. The group will last no more than 2 hours and for your time you will receive a cash honorarium of $65.00.

As we are only inviting a small number of people, your participation is very important to us. If for some reason you are unable to attend, please call so that we may get someone to replace you. Please do not send someone in your place. You can reach us at 1-800-363-4229 ext 5068 at our office. Please ask for Carol Smith. Someone will call you the day before to remind you about the discussion.

So that we can call you to remind you about the focus group or contact you should there be any changes, can you please confirm your name and contact information for me? [Read info we have and change as necessary.]

First name________________________________________
Last Name________________________________________
Email:____________________________________________
Day time phone number_____________________________
Night time phone number_____________________________

If the respondent refused to give his/her first or last name or phone number please assure them that this information will be kept strictly confidential in accordance to the privacy law and that it is used strictly to contact them to confirm their attendance and to inform them of any changes to the focus group. If they still refuse, thank and terminate.

top of page

Appendix B: Moderator's Guide

Introduction and Warm-Up
(5)

The moderator will take a few minutes to go around the table and ask respondents to introduce themselves, and outline a few ground rules: want to ensure that people share their views openly, let everyone participate, want people to talk about their views, not "other people's views", ensure that we don't want people to "debate" each other — everyone's views are valid, there are no right or wrong answers. The moderator will also point out that there is a one-way mirror, observers in the back, and audio and video taping, but ensure that all discussion is confidential.

Not all sections of the site will be covered in each session. The subject areas will be split as follows:

  • BioRegulations and bioGov sections will be tested with involved Canadians
  • BioBasics and bioGateway sections will be tested with general population groups

Introduction
(20)

Tonight we are going to talk about new technologies. What are some of the newest technologies that are changing our world, the things we do, the products we use?

  • Why is X technology so important?
  • Have you heard of the word biotechnology?
  • What does it mean? What does it encompass?
  • Is it a subject you know a lot about, a little about, or not much about?
  • Biotechnology has applications in a number of fields. Can you recall any that you have heard of?
  • [If not raised, introduce stem cell research, GM foods, gene banks and genetic information, others as related to biotechnology.]
  • Have you heard of the word nanotechnology? What does it mean? What does it encompass?
  • Is it a subject you know a lot about, a little about, or not much about?
  • I would like to understand the extent to which you think these technologies might benefit our society. What are the benefits of this kind of research? And what do you see as the major risks involved?

Sources of Information on Biotechnology/Emerging Technology
(25)

First off, I'd like to ask how often you have actively sought out information about new technologies like biotechnology or nanotechnology, for any reason. For what reason did you seek out that information? What sources did you go to?

  • In future, can you imagine a reason why you might seek out this kind of information?
  • What sources would you go to, and why?
  • What medium would you use (print/electronic/other)?
  • Are some seen as more informative than others? More credible? More easy to find information?
  • (Prompt) It could be for any reason, such as health treatments/products, food products, research, applications, ethical guidelines, or studies that have been carried out to evaluate safety?
  • What sources would you go to, and why?
  • What information would you seek out?
  • What medium would you use (print/electronic/other)?
  • Are some seen as more informative than others? More credible? More easy to find information?

Scenario: If you were to read an article about stem cell research or GM food in the newspaper, or see a story about it on the news, where would you go to get more information? (Show article, ask respondents to read)

  • Would this prompt you to go to seek out information on biotechnology/ emerging technologies?
  • What information would you likely want to seek out?
  • Where would you go to find that information? Why?
  • What medium would you use? Why?
  • Would you consider going to a government "portal" for any of the information you might be seeking? Why? What information would you tend to be looking for?
  • What would you expect from a Government of Canada site in terms of specific information?
  • Have you ever been to a Government of Canada site to gather information before?
  • What about a Government of Canada site on biotechnology?
  • What would you want from a Government of Canada site in terms of specific information?

BioPortal
(60)

Moderator to open internet explorer to bioportal home page and follow prompts from participants.

  • Have you ever been to the Government of Canada "BioPortal" to gather information before?

Introduction of bioportal website

  • Let me show you a web site that has been created, I'd like to get your reactions to it.

Put up site

  • Allow participants to steer moderator around the site, leading to places that participants are interested in reviewing/ investigating
  • Is the site organized logically, or not?
  • Is it clear from the homepage what kinds of information you might obtain at this site?
  • What are the places you are most likely to want to go? Are those easy/hard to find?
  • Would you organize the site in a different way if you had an opportunity? What would you do?

    I would like to show you a couple of key sections of the site, and the kinds of information that is in those sections, and ask you to let me know how useful it is, how credible it is, what might be missing (in terms of content, organization, tone)

Show participants BioRegulations section, navigate through, and gather reaction to the content and organization of that section.

  • What was your overall impression of this section? Would you describe it as user-friendly?
  • Was it organized in such a way that made sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Do the category names make sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Can you think of specific ways that would make this section easier to use?

Hand-out content from a couple of the key BioRegulation sections. For each, test:

  • What is your overall impression of this information? Did it cover the issues you would expect it to, or not? Why do you say that? What, if anything, is missing?
  • Was the language easy to understand?
  • Was the information credible?
  • Was the information relevant?
  • How could it be improved?

Show participants BioGov section:

Moderator: This section provides information about a variety of topics from many countries around the world. As an example, in this section you will be able to find information on a specific topic from different parts of the world.

  • How important is it to have information about biotechnology from other countries? Why is that?
  • What types of information would be most important to you? Why is that?
  • Where would you go for that information?
  • What are your impressions of the current list of topics? Why do you say that? What, if anything, is missing?
  • Would you want to see how Canada compares to those from other countries? Why do you say that?
  • What are your impressions of the feature comparing Canada to other parts of the world? Why do you say that?

Navigate through BioGov section gather reaction to the content and organization of that section.

  • What was your overall impression of this section? Would you describe it as user-friendly?
  • Was it organized in such a way that made sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Probe: And what are your impressions on the way the site was organized by Major Subject Area?
  • Are there too many, too few, or the right amount of topics covered? Why do you say that?
  • To the best of your knowledge, what is the difference between a Major Subject Area and a Subtopic? Does this way of organizing make sense to you? Why do you say that?
  • Do the category names make sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Can you think of specific ways that would make this section easier to use?

Show participants BioBasics section, navigate through, and gather reaction to the content and organization of that section.

  • What was your overall impression for this section? Would you describe it as user-friendly?
  • Was it organized in such a way that made sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Do the category names make sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Can you think of specific ways that would make this section easier to use?
  • What are your impressions of the current list of topics? Why do you say that? What, if anything, is missing?

Hand-out content from a couple of the key BioBasics sections. For each, test:

  • What is your overall impression of this information? Did it cover the issues you would expect it to, or not? Why do you say that?
  • Was the language easy to understand?
  • Was the information credible?
  • Was the information relevant?
  • How could it be improved?

Show participants BioGateway section, navigate through, and gather reaction to the content and organization of that section.

  • What was your overall impression for this section? Would you describe it as user-friendly?
  • Was it organized in such a way that made sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Do the category names make sense to you? Why/why not?
  • Can you think of specific ways that would make this section easier to use?
  • What are your impressions of the current list of topics? Why do you say that? What, if anything, is missing?
  • Probe: And what are your impressions on the way the site was organized by Major Subject Area?
  • Are there too many, too few, or the right amount of topics covered? Why do you say that?
  • To the best of your knowledge, what is the difference between a Major Subject Area and a Subtopic? Does this way of organizing make sense to you? Why do you say that?

Hand-out content from a couple of the key BioGateway sections. For each, test:

  • What is your overall impression of this information? Did it cover the issues you would expect it to, or not? Why do you say that?
  • Was the language easy to understand?
  • Was the information credible?
  • Was the information relevant?
  • How could it be improved?

Overall impressions of the site (all sessions)

  • What is your overall impression to this website? Why do you say that?
  • Overall, on a scale from 1 to 7, how would you rate this website? Why do you say that?
  • Did you find the information you were expecting to find? Why not?
  • Can you see yourself using a site like this? Why? Why not?
  • Did you find the website visually appealing? What were some of the visual elements you liked or disliked?
  • What did you think of the color scheme? Did you find it attractive or distracting? Why?
  • Was the language easy to understand?
  • Did you find the overall appearance of the site conveyed an authoritative and credible image? Why?
  • Do the section names make sense to you? Why/why not?
  • What would you change them to? Why is that?

Conclusions and Wrap-up (5)

  • Do you have any other further comments or recommendations?

Thank you very much for your time and cooperation.

Back to main page

  • Email
  • Share
Help us improve
Back to "Help us improve" section.
  
Back to "What's the problem?" section.
Got it, thanks!
Um, you didn't enter anything.
Date modified: