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Section 8. Conducting Interviews with Key Participants to Analyze Critical Events

Example: Sample Interview about critical event

Here are some examples of responses from an interview in which the participant discussed the critical event of action planning with her group.


The action plan kept us on a time line. Things were no longer pie in the sky. We put up time lines that gave us something to go against. The action plans are very much a working document.

Context / Conditions

The coalition had spent a year talking in generalities. We were ready to get down to action. We were holding press conferences that made a commitment to the public to do something. We took all the change objectives and laid out our action plan by task forces. Each task force met to further develop the action plan. Most of us were not used to being in a true collaboration. The diversity of the group required that we figure out how people fit. If we didn't define roles, we would lose people.

Key actions and actors

Judy Johnston, Paula Marmet, Steve Coen, Mary Clark, Tom Ryan, Maggie Chamberlain, and David Banks were key leaders. They forced us to decide what we were going to do. The monthly brainstorming was very helpful. The survey of importance and feasibility was very critical. The survey gave all the task force members and partners a chance to get involved.

Barriers and Resistance

Since people had experienced other types of strategic planning, some eyes rolled where we started. Some thought it would not produce anything useful. Eventually people believed that this planning process would be different.

Key resources

The task forces still had control over what would be pursued. Steve Coen was very helpful in providing technical support.

Consequences for the coalition

The strategic plan made the coalition members feel that we were finally underway. It helped with public perception. We now had substance. This is what we are and what we do. It brought the coalition together on its priorities. For example, the emphasis on early nutrition made it easier for people to see that children were a priority for the coalition. It also made it much easier to talk with potential funders.

Consequences for the community

Strategic planning got programs in place. Without it, we might not have begun to work on the childcare curriculum. The action plan put programs out there that weren't there before. Action planning also helped us to pull in new partners. As the plan grew, additional partners become obvious. Partners could see how they could be involved with the coalition and the mission.