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College of Information and Communications


We are currently recruiting LGBTQ+ community members (ages 13+) for focus groups to learn more about the health issues  you and your community face, you and your community’s key health questions and concerns, and how you and your community deals with these questions and concerns. In order to qualify, members (as defined below) must meet with their communities in South Carolina either physically or virtually. If virtually, the group must include some members who reside in the state. If interested, please sign up for a focus group »

Below, we've provided some information about the study, divided into the following sections: 1) Defining “community”, 2) Information about the study, and 3) How to sign up yourself or someone you know. Feel free to read each section or skip to the sections most relevant to you. If you have any questions while reading or want further information, please email:

In this study, “community” means a group of LGBTQ+ people who come together to engage in a series of shared activities, which may or may not relate to their LGBTQ+ identities. Communities can gather physically, virtually, or both. Community members should either be based in South Carolina, if they convene virtually, or have at least some of their gatherings in South Carolina, if they convene physically. Communities can be formal, such as an organization that has rules and procedures and where members have various roles and responsibilities, or informal. Here are some examples of communities that fall under this definition:

  • A high-school gay-straight alliance in South Carolina
  • An online social-networking site for LGBTQ+ people from South Carolina
  • A queer ultimate frisbee team based in South Carolina
  • An LGBTQ+ artist collective from the South that hosts events or activities in South Carolina

We are scheduling 6-8 focus groups of between 8-12 people each between January 1 – May 30, 2019. The in-person, focus groups will take approximately 120 minutes and occur at a public location convenient to participants. During the interview, the focus group members will be asked about:

  • Your community, your personal involvement in the community, and information about your important identities.
  • The types of health issues you experience.
  • What health questions you have and how you address these questions.
  • How you share health advice, news, and other resources.
  • How you use health advice, news, and other resources to make changes or decisions.

Participants will also engage in an exercise where they will be asked to draw a picture of themselves on a piece of paper along with the people, places, and things that provide health information to them and their community, receive health information from them and their community, and help them and their community to make health decisions. There is no right or wrong way to make this drawing.

Participants’ identities will be kept confidential and they will be referred to using pseudonyms in all research presentations and publications. With participants’ permission, the PI will audio record the interview for data analysis and transcribe it verbatim. Once the transcript has been created,  the PI will delete the recording. If a participant does not consent to having their interview recorded, the PI will take detailed notes instead. The participant will have access to and be able to review their transcript and interview notes as well as a preliminary write-up of the interview findings following the interview. Participants will receive $75 in cash for their participation. This study received approval from the University of South Carolina's ethics board for expedited review (IRB Protocol Pro00085287). View the letter from the review board approving the study.

If you are interested in participating, please sign up »

If you or someone you know is interested in participating and need more information or would like to schedule via phone or email, please Contact Us.

After you make an appointment, we will be in touch to schedule your focus group interview time, date, and location as well as answer any questions you might have.

If you know someone who may be interested in participating … please consider telling them about this study and giving them the link to the project’s website, where they can find all of this information here on our Participate page.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule by phone or email, please email:


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