Express research of stereotypes about IDPs in small groups

Implemented by: Literary group «STAN»

Overview: holding a guided small discussion group to meas ure stereotypes about internally displaced persons. The group usually consists of 25-55 people, who for three hours formulate questions with implicit stereotypes about displaced people from Donbass and Crimea. During the further systematization and discussion the participants who are IDPs have an opportunity to answer the questions and try to disprove the most widespread stereotypes.

Operating procedures:

  1. Stirring up the audience

To stir up the audience for the research, we used an Englishlanguage video “Examples of cultural diversity: avoid stereotypes in communication”; Prior to the view of the video the participants of the express-study were supposed the answer the question: “Who are the characters in this video?”

After viewing the video the audience answered the question “What are the characters in the video discussing?” Because the video was shown in English without subtitles, most of the audience failed to understand the subject of the discussion. Their replies were based on the analysis of non-verbal components of speech and peculiar differences between the characters in the video.

After this the moderators could give a brief account of the real subject of the discussion, the audience discussed to what extent the stereotypes about external differences in representatives of ethnic and social minorities work, and whether or not they can use it with respect to internally displaced persons.

  1. Collection and systematization of information

The information was collected through a children’s game. We used a collection of anonymous questions from the audience to the displaced persons as the main methodological instrument.

To do this we needed: a hat to collect questions, a set of coloured stickers for notes (A6 format), pens, a flipchart, blue and red markers.

Before we began to collect information, each participant was given several coloured stickers and a pen.

The opening words from the moderators: “Let us imagine that we are children setting question to interesting people, who are unlike others. To adults it may seem embarrassing to ask such naive questions. But the children simply need to get answers to these questions, so that they could learn about the world.”

The task of the audience: “Formulate questions to internally displaced persons starting with the words “Is it true that…”, “Why…”;

10 minutes was given to complete the task. After the end of this time the moderators collect coloured stickers into a hat.

An important aspect of this method is full anonymity of the authors of the questions. This enables the participants to ask harsher questions, than they would ask in public for ethical reasons.

An example of the questions: “Is it true that persons displaced from Donbass do not want to study Ukrainian?

  1. Systematizing the information.

While moderators were setting the task, no examples of questions with hidden stereotypes were given. Due to this, we did not steer people to think in one direction, but we gave them total freedom in the choice of topics. Thus, the questions that made it to one group are the evidence of the existence of set stereotypes amongst the residents of the cities.

After all the questions were collected into a hat, the moderators started the process of primary systematization of the stereotypes. To do this the participants were united into subgroups of 5-10 people and they discussed some of the collected questions with implicit stereotypes about internally displaced persons. In each group there is at least one internally displaced person from Donbass, but the other participants at the beginning do not know about it.

  1. Disproving stereotypes in a group

Disproving stereotypes takes place when questions are firstmade public inside groups, and then for the general audience. Internally displaced persons have an opportunity to confirm or disprove the information in the questions, to meaningfully answer the questions and to explain from where they think certain stereotypes arise.

  1. Further analysis of the stereotypes about ethnic and social groups is conducted by the analytical group after the end of the event.

Impact:

During the discussion activity we determined the main blocks of stereotypes about IDPs. When working in small groups, active dis placed persons could partially disprove stereotypes about them selves among the participants of the meeting. The materials of the research are actively used by other NGOs to improve the efficiency of their work on the adaptation of IDPs in hosting communities.