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The Focus Group Data Archive is a repository for qualitative materials collected by the project. It is based at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, under the direction of Chanpen Saengtienchai. Below is a short description of the archive, more information is available in:

Archiving Qualitative Data on Aging: Experiences of the University of Michigan Data Archive” by Chanpen Saengtienchai, PSC Elderly in Asia Research Report No. 97-45.

General Description of Focus Group Holdings

As a part of the project on Rapid Demographic Change and the Welfare of the Elderly, a series of focus group discussions were held with elderly participants and with adults who had an elderly parent. Four countries are included in the study; the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The full set of transcripts, both in original language and English translation, have been archived at the Population Studies Center Data Archive at the University of Michigan. This represents one of the first attempts to archive qualitative data to make it available for secondary analysis. The qualitative data in the aging project have the potential both for comparative analysis and for country level analysis and should be of interest to scholars involved in research on aging issues.

Current status of acquisitions

There are 86 focus group discussion transcripts (21 from Singapore, 21 from Taiwan, 18 from the Philippines and 26 from Thailand). All were conducted in the native languages of the focus group participants. For some groups in Singapore this included English mixed with the native language. The dialogue from the focus groups was transcribed in the native language except for those in Singapore where translation was done in the course of transcription. The following table shows the number of transcripts available for each country by language.

Original language English translation
Singapore 21
Taiwan 21 21
Philippines 13 18
Thailand 26 26

Note: There are no original language transcripts for Singapore, and 5 are still unavailable from the Philippines, but may become available in the future.

Data format

All English transcripts are in ASCII form and formatted for use with the Ethnograph software package. They can be easily reformatted by users with any word processing programs appropriate to the language. Original language versions are based on various word processing programs appropriate to the language. With some exceptions, the transcripts indicate relevant characteristics of the area where they took place, date of data collection and characteristics of the focus group participants: sex, place of residence (urban or rural), socioeconomic status (high or low) and type of participants (elderly or adult). No full names or addresses of participants are indicated for the purpose of confidentiality.

Topics included

As part of the broad-based comparative project, all four countries used similar guidelines for their focus group discussions. The guidelines encompassed a large number of topics relevant to the welfare of the elderly. The topics and their relative emphasis within each country are as follows:

Philippines Singapore Taiwan Thailand
Living arrangemet * * * *
Support exchanges with children/kin * * * *
Social contact with kin/others * (*) (*)
Economic situation
income/assets * (*) (*)
work * * (*) *
Health status * *
Program utilization (*) * (*) (*)
Respect * * * *
Change over time * * * *
Role of elderly in community (*) * * (*)
Family size and support * * (*) *
Emotional support * * (*)
Key: * = as main topic
(*) = to limited extent
– = not included

Conditions for Use

This archive of focus group discussion transcripts is available to students for dissertation research and to scholars who wish to undertake qualitative analyses as a part of ongoing research. Researchers may request one or more countries, provided they comply with the following conditions established by the country investigators:

a. Submit a statement of their research interests and objectives to the director of the project, “Rapid Demographic Change and the Welfare of the Elderly”.

b. Provide copies of any final reports or papers to the project director.

c. Acknowledge the PSC Data Archives, the project, and the specific country host organizations and principal investigators as the source of the data.

d. Not distribute copies of the transcripts in any form to anyone else without written permission of the project director.

For additional information about use of the Archive, contact Chanpen Saengtienchai ([email protected]). For other project related matters, please correspond with the director.