Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Preparing for Group Discussion Using Case Studies (Pre-Forum)

1. Create case studies and questions or use existing case studies if they fit your situation (or modify them). If creating your own case studies or modifying existing ones, use available data for the problem or issue and the population. Fictionalize the stories, yet make them believable stories of individuals or people. Case studies should be short and focus on helping participants who may not be aware of the issue you are addressing get a personal view of how the issue impacts people. See Appendices 7-8: Case Studies for examples from our forums.

Note: We recommend that you ask several Extension educators or other knowledgeable members of the community to read the case studies to affirm their believability and accuracy. Then make modifications prior to using it in the forum. 2. By creating several different case studies, forum attendees will hear report-outs after groups processed the case studies and gain a broader understanding of the complexity of how the issue impacts individuals and families. Though the case studies are different, the questions for the groups are the same. We used reflective questions to think about the story and possible responses. 3. Reflective questions are key to connect participants to the human side of the story. It is also a tool to get participants thinking about what resources they could bring to the table to address the issue being addressed. Sample questions might include:  Now that you have heard this story, what are some of your first thoughts and reactions?  What could have been done to protect this person, family, or other entity in the story?  Given where they are now, what is the next step and what specific resources, opportunities, assets, or building blocks does your organization have that can help provide? 4. Assign participants to groups so that each group has diversity of Community Capitals sectors and demographics. Assigned seating increases the likelihood that people will get to meet people they don’t know. You might also want to look for diversity of leadership, disciplines, and experiences. Delaware 2018 Forum – Case Study Discussions

Note: You will need to use the registration list for an initial assignment, but be prepared on the day of the forum to move people to accommodate both no-shows and people who were not pre-registered.

5. Train facilitators within a few days of the forum to be sure they know each other and the tasks for which they are responsible.

Note : While training and experience can be optional if time and capacity are limited, we highly recommend doing the training for the sake of productive, consistent small group sessions.

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