Research Questions While preparing the discussion guide for the focus groups, we developed a few different research questions that applied to our focus group. One research question was why people adopt from an animal shelter. For this question we asked, what the thoughts on obtaining an animal from an animal shelter were, what factors do they look at when choosing a pet, and what are the benefits and draw backs of adopting an animal from a shelter? Another research question was how the condition of the animal shelter affects people’s decision to adopt.
We wanted to know if the condition of the shelter deters or helps a person’s decision to adopt a pet from them because if it does then it is something that the shelter can work on improving. While these all are important questions to ask we decided our main research question was how to increase student volunteers. A few of the questions asked were why or why would you not volunteer for an animal shelter, what they would like to do if they did volunteer at a shelter, and what they think are some good ways to encourage college kids to volunteer at a shelter?
Increasing the number of student volunteers or the amount of time that students volunteer at a shelter can benefit the shelter immensely.
Preparation of Discussion Guide There were several steps involved while preparing the discussion guide. The first thing we did for the discussion guide was that we chose groups and started to brain storm questions we wanted to be answered during the focus group. My group came up with around twelve questions and then we condensed them down to four questions we thought were the most important. We then turned them in with the rest of the class.
Next, all of the questions that each group came up with were put together and we got back together in our groups so we could condense all of the questions. As a group we looked for questions that were worded the best, reworded some, and eliminated any repeat questions. After that, we looked at all of the questions as a class. Together, we worked on the wording and order we thought would be best to ask the questions during the focus group. We also came up with headings we thought were appropriate for each section and came up with Thoughts on Pet Adoption, Adopters, Hard to Adopt Issues, Shelters, and Volunteerism.
Next, we were divided into three groups, as a class, to write the introduction, perfect the discussion questions and allocate time for every section, and write the conclusion. All of the mediators were in a group to perfect the questions and ensure nothing was repeated or left out. The mediators went through all of the questions again to check conciseness, further eliminated questions that were repeats or unneeded and allocated time to make certain that it would take 45 to 60 minutes for the entire focus group. The other two groups were chosen based on location in the classroom.
The group on the right side wrote the introduction while the group on the left side of the classroom wrote the conclusion. Finally, we discussed the introduction, discussion questions, and conclusion as a class to make sure everything we wanted and needed was included. We added some follow-up questions on a few of the questions so that they would elicit more responses and ensure clarity. Afterwards discussion guides were printed for every student in the class so they could practice and have them during the focus group. Focus Group Recruitment
The process of inquiring a focus group for the topic of pet adoption was not as timely as we thought it would be. Though it was a process because our members are students with busy schedules and other things to do, we did find a couple of lucky members to fit in our focus group time slot. Each member of our group found a couple people to show up and help out with our pet adoption analysis. As an incentive, we promised the members a treat of Lil Caesar’s pizza and pop in exchange for their time and thoughts. Chelsea found her members through a group text messages.
Her members were acquaintances she has met in an accounting class. Meagan talked about the focus group at a meeting for the National Student Advertising Competition, and also at her AdGroup meeting. Adam and Mitch found their members through text messaging, and when a few friends were at their apartment while they were discussing the focus group and they decided to volunteer their time. Three hours before the focus group started, we contacted our members and made sure that they were still available to come and answer our questions.
We all had a few other people in mind in case someone became unavailable and we needed someone to make our minimum required of six members. Thankfully, all of the initial volunteers were able to show up and were on time for the focus group. Focus Group Membership Our group had a total of ten people show up for our focus group. Almost evenly split up, we had six women and four men. We were also lucky enough to have ended up with students from all different cities, backgrounds, colleges and majors. At the beginning, we made them go around the table and have them tell us a little about themselves.
To elaborate, it was mostly along the lines of where they were from, their majors, what year they were, and if they have any pets. Woman one is from the Flint area, a senior in the Advertising program, and has a pet tortoise and cat, which she adopted, here at school. Woman two is from Brighton, in the radiography program, and has a guinea pig at school and a cat at home. Woman three is from Sault Saint Marie, a junior in the accounting and finance program, and has an adopted dog at home. Woman four is from Mt. Pleasant, a junior in the marketing program, and has two dogs.
Woman five is a senior in the advertising program with two Chihuahuas at home. Woman six is from Saginaw, a junior in advertising, and has a cat at home. Man one is from the thumb area, majoring in integrated studies, and has three cats at home. Man two is from Fowlerville, a sophomore in the engineering program, and has a dog and a beta fish at home. Man three is a sophomore in the mechanical engineering, and has four dogs at home. Man four is also a sophomore in the mechanical engineering program, and has a beagle at school. Looking back we can see that all of our members have some sort of pet.
They are either a sophomore, junior or senior at Ferris, and have a decided major. All of our members live off-campus in either apartments or houses in Big Rapids during the school year. Focus Group Assessment Our focus group was too short; it only ran about 20 minutes long. We feel that we tried to get the members to elaborate more; however, our mediator was often left with no further response and awkward silences. Some of the discussion questions were made to have a decent length response, but our group was still not very talkative.
We believe a lot of them were shy, and did not like sharing their thoughts while others were around. From our observations, we have determined that the females spoke more than the males did. On the same note, while females as a whole were more outspoken than the males, some females did not put in much input at all. Woman one, woman two, and woman six did not comment or answer our questions are much as the other women did. As for the men, man one was the least involved in the discussion. The rest of the men were pretty even when it came to their amount of responses. Themes
While doing this focus group we noticed that most members just agreed with what the previous members said and it was difficult to get them to discuss their answers at times. They all said that adopting a pet is a good thing, but sometimes when you’re looking for a specific type of dog (like a hunting dog) it is better to get it from a breeder. Everyone was concerned with appearance, temperament, and size when they consider adopting/buying a pet. They look for a shelter that is kept up well when looking to adopt because that correlates with how the animals are being taken care of.
They believe that volunteering at an animal shelter is important for college students because it helps the animals and the community, and they would do so when they have the time. Other things we noticed while doing the pet adoption focus group: 1. Most college students feel like they don’t actually have the time to adopt a pet. College students know that pets need a lot of tender love and care. As much as they want to get a pet, either through adoptions or other means, they don’t have the time to dedicate to it. 2. If they did have time, students would rather adopt young rather than old.
If students were to have the time to have a pet, they would choose a younger animal instead of an older one. It seems to be that they would like to train the pet to their liking, and be able to make a strong bond with the pet. The popular opinion was that some older pets may be well trained, but then you may be looking at medical bills and even extra time and money to take care of them. 3. Students think it’s hard to keep pet off-campus due to landlords and roommates. There are few apartments and houses around the Big Rapids area that allow pets. Another concern was that college students move around from year to year.
They could run into a possible problem if a previous landlord allowed a pet, but their new landlord did not. What then? 4. Students are more likely to adopt or find adopters if pets are soon to be euthanized. Like every other person, the thought of putting an innocent animal to death is heartbreaking. A common theme throughout our focus group was that if they knew the animal was going to be euthanized, they were more apt to adopt it. 5. Students thought the temporary “trial run” would be an awesome idea. Students believed that giving a trial run option would pull in more people to adopt since there was a return option.
Sometimes pets have problems like humans do. Pets can be abused, and maybe they need special attention or attack males, etc. If you weren’t aware of their issues before you adopted them and it doesn’t fit in your lifestyle, you may return them. 6. Allergies are a concern for adopting a pet. Some people cannot just adopt any animal because of either their allergies or a member of their family’s allergies. Because of this, adopting a pet may be a little more difficult. They may need a short-haired dog or cat, or even a hypoallergenic pet.
If there are none of those types of pets at the shelter than they are out of luck at that time. 7. Many find that the animal shelter experience is lonely and sad. A couple of our members have volunteered at a shelter or have at least been to one. All of their reactions were the same; it was sad. They agreed that the puppy dog eyes were extra puppy dogged. It was tough for the pet lovers and owners to visit an animal shelter because they want to take every animal they see home. It was a sad experience for them to leave them knowing that they will be left in their cages by themselves over night.
They also agreed that they don’t go to the shelters as often because of that sad feeling that they get when leaving. Conclusions Based on the feedback we received from our focus group, we concluded that it was hard for college students to find time to volunteer at an animal shelter due to their hectic class and work schedules. In our focus group we found that although students don’t feel the need to volunteer themselves, they feel that volunteering is important to the community and the animal shelter. Previous experiences at animal shelters have proven to be unpleasant and depressing causing students to not want to return to volunteer.
The fact that an animal may be euthanized at a kill shelter makes it harder for students to get motivated to volunteer weekly because they don’t want to form a relationship with an animal that may have to get put-down at any moment. Recommendations From our focus group and research we have come up with a few recommendations for the animal shelter. First we recommend that the animal shelter encourages college students to adopt pets if they are capable of it or that they volunteer to help at the animal shelter if they are unable to adopt.
Since people are always looking for what’s in it for them, the animal shelter should provide a list of benefits that the potential adopters could receive from having a pet. Then, they can tell the benefits that the animal and shelter would receive if they did adopt. We found out that the condition of the animal shelter does affect a person’s decision to adopt. Someone from our focus group said, “If they are neglecting the animal shelter, then they are probably neglecting the animals as well. ” Because of this, we think that it is important to ensure that the shelter is well cared for.
It needs to smell clean and be stress free for the animals and the people that are visiting. If the visitors can feel tension in the environment then they might think that the animals are stressed out, too. The shelter should be as comfortable as possible, not only for the animals, but for the potential adopters as well. The last recommendation we have is how to increase student volunteers. Students said that when they are volunteering at an animal shelter they want to be able to interact with the animals and have a positive experience while hey are helping. They would enjoy playing with them, petting them, and taking them for walks. If they are uncomfortable at the shelter they are unlikely to return. We believe that the best way for student volunteers to feel comfortable volunteering and for the shelter to benefit from the volunteers is by having a policy where shelter employees train all volunteers on the do’s and don’ts of the shelter. This way, the volunteers aren’t confused and have a positive experience at the shelter the moment they walk through the door.
They should give every volunteer a conduct from showing he/she understands what is expected from him/her and the shelter so that everything is completely clear. We also think that the animal shelter should reach out to Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and ask for help. Most RSOs require community service hours so this would be a great way for them to reach out to students and for students to give back to their community. However, they need to have a sign-up sheet for the students so they all aren’t coming at once.
The animal shelter needs to notify them of the times they need the most help. Another way they can use student volunteers is to promote animal shelter’s awareness and how important it is to donate to them. When people volunteer they are looking to get something out of it. There could be a fundraising banquet at the end of the year recognizing all of the volunteers. Whether it is recognition from the community or an RSO or just to make them feel good about themselves, the animal shelter needs to communicate to the volunteer the benefits they will be getting out of volunteering for them.
Cite this Why People Adopt From an Animal Shelter
Why People Adopt From an Animal Shelter. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/why-people-adopt-from-an-animal-shelter/