Focus Group Script
June 10, 1996 -- Boston (Dedham) residents at Quick Test
[Introductory Comments and Instructions. This document is used to guide the discussion; it is not an exact script. Notes in brackets are organizations notes for the moderator.]
Welcome. Thank you for being here. Our discussion this evening will last about 2 hours. Please help yourself to the refreshments throughout the meeting.
My name is Kathleen Rossmann. I am an independent research consultant and am here to gather information from you regarding your interest in a policy issue being studied by a team of researchers at the University of Colorado. I do not have a vested interest in the results that are reported. Rather, my goal is to accurately determine the level of interest and opinions of each of you.
You may not be familiar with focus groups. A focus group is a group discussion about your opinions. There are no right or wrong answers and there is no need for us to agree with each other or reach consensus. If anybody says something you have a question about or want to comment on, please do so. Don't feel you have to wait for me to ask you a question. My job is to focus the discussion of the issues. I encourage all of you to participate in the discussion--everyone's ideas and opinions are important.
Some things are common to almost all focus groups and they apply tonight, too.
1. People in focus groups usually have something in common. In our case, you were selected because you live in the Boston area. Otherwise, you were selected randomly.
2. The session is being tape recorded. The microphone is there. The recording is my note taking system so that I am sure to report your opinions accurately.
3. Another feature of most focus groups is a one-way mirror. A few members of the university research team are observing the discussion from behind the mirror. They will help me with my report and will also take notes.
4. Finally, in a focus group, it is important to have only one person speak at a time. We want to be able to hear each person's comments. So please speak one at a time.
If at any point you do not understand something that I have said, please stop me and I will clarify.
Charles is here to assist with some of the displays. Are there any questions before we begin?
You will find in front of you 2 booklets: an Illustration Booklet and a Response Booklet. Please don't look forward in either of them until we do so as a group. We will be working through both of these booklets. For some questions, you will be asked to write a response in the Response Booklet and then we will discuss them. If you don't have an answer, than indicate this. [Have participants introduce themselves.]
During this discussion, we will be talking about people-made monuments. A "monument" is a structure that commemorates or honors a person, place, event, or idea. Typically, monuments are non-functional objects, for example: statues and other figures, obelisks, and grave markers. Sometimes, monuments also include special historic buildings such as the U.S. Capitol Building.
Turn to Illustration 1 in your Illustration Booklet, which shows several different types of monuments.
[Discussion Question] Can you think of other outdoor monuments that fit this description?
Monuments that are located outdoors are made of different types of materials. Bronze and stone are common materials. In Washington, D.C. there are about 500 outdoor monuments, and a large share of these are made out of bronze or granite. However, most of the monuments constructed in Washington, D.C. between 1850 and 1940 were made of marble. These marble monuments usually have white, smooth surfaces with streaks of color, usually grayish, and they often have a lot of carved detail such as facial features, scrollwork, and lettering.
Turn to Illustration 2 in your Illustration Booklet. Shown here are several Washington, D.C. monuments that are made of marble. Illustration 1 also contains some marble monuments that are in Washington, D.C.
Today we will be talking about outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC. There are approximately 100 outdoor monuments in Washington, D.C. that are made of marble. These monuments include statues, obelisks, tombstones of historical figures, some large structural monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, and buildings of national significance such as the U.S. Capitol Building and the Supreme Court. Turn to Illustration 3 of your booklet, which lists most of the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, D.C. and shows the location these on a map of the city.
[Question] Is anyone unclear about the types of monuments we will be discussing?
Please turn to and answer Question 1 in your Response Booklet.
[Discuss responses to Question 1.]
[B. Nature of value]
For the remainder of this discussion, we will focus on the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, D.C.
Please turn to and answer Questions 2 and 3. [Discuss responses to Questions 2 and 3.]
Next we will talk about the current condition of the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC.
[C.1. Description of injuries with examples]
Natural and pollution-related weathering is changing the appearance of outdoor marble monuments. Two common types of appearance changes for marble monuments are erosion and chemical alteration. I will describe both of these and show you pictures of the effects.
Erosion is a gradual loss of the stone material caused by natural and pollution-related weathering. Rain dissolves and washes away the surface of the stone. Air pollution makes marble dissolve more easily and more readily. Eroded areas on monuments lose their smooth surface and appear rough and "sugary." Erosion can wear away carving detail on marble and break off delicate marble pieces.
The effects of erosion are shown in Figures A, B and C of Illustration 4. Areas of a monument that are more exposed to rainfall will erode more rapidly than areas that are protected from rainfall.
Pollution chemically alters marble by turning the outside surface of marble into gypsum. As a gypsum crust forms on the outer surface of the marble, it traps dirt from the air blackening the outer surface of the monument. The gypsum crust can also flake off removing the outer layer of the marble and leaving the marble surface rough and more sensitive to further gypsum formation and erosion.
Gypsum crusts usually form on the areas of the monument that are protected from rainfall, for example under the eaves of a building or in the indentations on a statue.
The effects of the chemical alteration caused by pollution are shown in Figures C and D. Figure C shows the formation of a gypsum crust on a baluster. The first picture in Figure C shows a baluster without much alteration; the center picture shows the blackened gypsum crust and an area where the crust has flaked off; the third picture shows a baluster after all of the gypsum crust has flaked off and a second gypsum crust has formed. Figure D shows gypsum crusts underneath a building's overhang.
The degree to which monuments are affected by natural and pollution-related weathering depends on several factors including: the quality of the stone, the local air pollution levels and weather conditions, and the shape of the monument. Monuments made of softer marble are more sensitive. Monuments located in areas with greater air pollution or more precipitation will be more visibly affected. Exposed areas of monuments will show more erosion; slightly protected areas are more prone to chemical alteration and soiling.
Recall that most of the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC were erected between 1850 and 1940. This means that the effects of natural and pollution-related weathering that are currently evident have occurred over the past 60 to 150 years.
Now I would like to show you the effects of natural and pollution-related weathering that will occur in the future. This exhibit labeled Future Condition of Outdoor Marble Monuments in Washington, D.C. [poster size] shows the effects of natural and pollution-related weathering on two outdoor marble monuments 50 and 100 years from now. Please look at Illustration 5, which gives you a close-up view of the photographs on this exhibit. The numbered photographs shown on your illustration are the same as the numbered photographs shown in the exhibit; your photo with a "1" is identical to this photo with a "1" etc. The first row of photographs are of a statue of Benjamin Franklin in Washington, DC. The second row of photographs are of the top portion of a column similar to those on the Supreme Court, the US Capitol and various other historic marble monuments.
For both of these monuments, there are 3 pictures. The pictures in column 1-labeled with a 1-show the current condition of the monuments. The pictures in column 2-labeled with a 2-show the expected condition in the year 2050, about 50 years from now. The pictures in column 3-labeled with a 3-show the expected condition in the year 2100, about 100 years from now. These photographs show how the average condition of the marble monuments in Washington, D.C. will change in the future. The changes shown in these pictures are based on the predictions of the chemists and other experts who have studied the effects of pollution on outdoor marble monuments.
The changes shown in the pictures of the top portion of a column will probably not be very noticeable at the distance from which you would normally view these monuments. These pictures have been included so that you can see the changes that will take place, even though you might not notice the changes were you to visit the monument. However, you may notice erosion or gypsum crusts on other marble surfaces on large monuments that are closer to eye-level.
Notice the blue shaded area--this is the time period in which most outdoor marble monuments were installed. This means that most outdoor marble monuments were installed 60 to 150 years ago.
Just as in the past, monuments will be affected to varying degrees in the future depending on the levels of air pollution, the quality of the marble, the shape of the monument, and the current degree of erosion and chemical alteration. These two monuments represent the average effects given the current maintenance practices. Maintenance consists of periodic cleaning of loose soil, removal of graffiti and birds droppings, and repair of structural weaknesses in the larger monuments.
Please take a few minutes to study these pictures and answer Questions 4 through 6.
[Discuss the responses to Questions 4 through 6.]
[C.4. Nature of lost value]
I would like to remind you that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. We want to know your opinions and we expect people to have differing opinions.
Please turn to and answer Questions 7 and 8.
[Discuss the responses to Questions 7 and 8. As part of this discussion, ask the following questions:]
a. Does anyone think that monuments should look aged?
b. Does it matter if the changes are caused by natural weathering versus pollution?
[C.5. Other possible actions]
Several actions can be taken in response to the effects of pollution on outdoor marble monuments. The following are three options:
1. continue current maintenance practices until each monument is removed or replaced; 2. move the smaller monuments indoors; and 3. partially proctect the marble from the effects of pollution in the future with a special protective treatment.
Please turn to and answer Question 9.
[Discuss responses to Question 9 ]
Now I would like to talk about the possibility of partially preserving the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, D.C.
[D.1. Description of protective coating]
Preservation treatments can be undertaken to partially protect outdoor marble monuments from the effects of pollution-related weathering. These treatments involve an initial maintenance cleaning, and then a multi-stage coating treatment.. The multi-stage coating treatment penetrates the outer layer of the marble and inhibits chemical reactions between the marble and air pollution. This process does not result in any change to the current appearance of the marble; with proper application, you cannot see the coating materials when looking at the monument. By reducing the chemical reactions, the treatment slows the rate of erosion and gypsum formation and, thus, slows the rate at which the appearance of the monument will change in the future. This type of treatment does not stop erosion or gypsum formation, it just slows the rate of deterioration.
Different preservation treatments are available. The more extensive treatments, which involve different materials and application techniques, provide more effective protection of the marble. I am going to describe the preservation benefits of three treatment options that are feasible for slowing the rate of change in outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC. You will then be asked some questions about which options you favor.
[D.2. Add Preservation Option A]
The first option for you to consider is Preservation Option A. This preservation treatment would increase the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 2 to occur from 50 years to 62.5 years. Similarly, the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 3 to occur would be increased from 100 years to 125 years. Exhibit A shows this effect, which increases by 25%, or by a quarter, the time in which the changes would occur forever.
[D.3. Add Preservation Option B]
The second option for you to consider is Preservation Option B. This preservation treatment would increase the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 2 to occur from 50 years to 75 years. Similarly, the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 3 to occur would be increased from 100 years to 150 years. Exhibit B shows this effect, which increases by 50%, or by half, the time in which the changes would occur forever.
Finally, the third option for you to consider is Preservation Option C. This preservation treatment would increase the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 2 to occur from 50 years to 100 years. Similarly, the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 3 to occur would be increased from 100 years to 200 years. Exhibit C shows this effect, which increases by 100%, or doubles, the time in which the changes would occur forever.
[D.5. Multiple applications]
These three options involve different materials and application techniques. Given the nature of the materials and the interaction of the materials with the marble, it is not beneficial to use any of the options multiple times. For example, repeating Option A will not provide any additional protection to the marble.
Recall that the Exhibit titled "Future Condition of Outdoor Marble Monuments" shows the changes that will occur if none of these preservation treatments are used. In this case, the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 2 to occur would be 50 years, and the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 3 to occur would be 100 years.
Please keep in mind that the Preservation Options A, B, and C would apply to the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC. The 350 other outdoor monuments in Washington, D.C. that are made out of other materials such as bronze and granite will not be included in the preservation option because they are not as sensitive to pollution-related weathering as marble monuments.
If one of the three preservation options is undertaken, it would be administered by the Marble Monument Preservation Trust, which is a non-profit organization specializing in the preservation of marble monuments.
Please turn to and answer Question 10.
[Discuss Question 10.]
You will be presented with pairs of preservation alternatives and asked to choose which one you prefer from each pair. Each alternative will consist of one of the four preservation options, A, B, C, or No Preservation, and a dollar amount for each. This dollar amount is the one-time payment for your household if the preservation alternative were undertaken. For each pair of alternatives, you will be asked to choose the one that you like better. Even if you do not like either of the choices, please choose between them as if they were the only alternatives available.
It has not been determined how the money would be raised to fund one of these preservation options. We want you to focus on the amount your household would pay for each preservation option. Please consider the value to you and your household of each preservation option relative to the dollar amount shown with each alternative, regardless of what you think the preservation option might cost or how funding might be raised from other households or sources.
Are there any questions?
First we will do some examples together. Please turn to the page titled Examples.
|Example 1:||No Preservation Option for $0||Preservation Option C for $25|
For each pair, assume that the two alternatives are the only ones available to you. You will be asked to circle the alternative you like better and to explain why you made this choice.
We find that when given a choice such as this one, some people choose No Preservation for $0 as the alternative they like better. People who have done so sometimes say that the Preservation Option C is not worth $25 to them or that they cannot afford $25. Others say that there are more important things to spend their money on than partially preserving monuments in Washington, D.C.
Other people, when given the same choice, choose Preservation Option C as the alternative they like better. People who have done so say that slowing the rate of change of marble monuments caused by pollution-related weathering is worth $25 to them because it is important to them how the monuments will look in the future.
By choosing Preservation Option C for $25 over No Preservation for $0, you would be saying that your household is willing to pay at least $25 for Option C.
Please circle the alternative you like better.
Are there any questions? Now we will do Example 2.
|Example 2:||Preservation Option B for $10||Preservation Option C for $15|
Again, assume that these two preservation options are the only ones available to you. In this case, No Preservation is not an alternative.
We find that when given a choice such as this one, some people choose the more effective preservation option, Preservation Option C for $15, as the alternative they like better. People who have done so sometimes say that the additional protection is worth the additional cost.
Other people, when given the same choice, choose the less effective preservation option, Preservation Option B for $10, as the alternative they like better. People who have done so sometimes say that the additional protection offered by Preservation Option C for $15 is not worth the additional cost.
Please circle the alternative you like better. Are there any questions?
These examples were for practice. Now you will be presented with 5 different pairs of alternatives. Each pair consists of two alternatives. Assume these two preservation alternatives are the only ones available to you. For each of the 5 pairs, please circle the alternative you like better and answer the question following each pair.
It is sometimes difficult to make these choices. Please take your time. You may want to look at all 5 pairs before making any choices. Once you are confident about your choices, circle the alternative you like better from each pair and then explain why you made this choice for each pair.
If you change your mind, be sure to clearly indicate your final choice.
Recall that the dollar amount for each alternative would be a one-time payment your household would be required to make in order for the preservation alternative to be undertaken. This means that your household would have to reduce expenditures on other purchases by this amount.
Remember that the effectiveness of Preservation Options A, B, and C relative to No Preservation are shown in Exhibits A, B, and C, respectively. You may want to refer back to these when making your choices.
Please turn to page 7 and indicate which alternative you like better in each of the 5 pairs. Take your time.
Now turn to and answer Question 11.
[Discuss choices and responses to Question 11.]
Now I would like you to think only about Preservation Option C. Recall that this preservation treatment would increase the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 2 to occur from 50 years to 100 years. Similarly, the time in which it would take the changes shown in column 3 to occur would be increased from 100 years to 200 years. Exhibit C shows this effect, which increases by 100%, or doubles, the time in which the changes would occur
Next you will be asked to decided the maximum amount your household would pay as a one-time payment for Preservation Option C rather than no preservation. That is, how much is it worth to your household to partially protect the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC using Preservation Option C. This is the upper limit that you would be willing to pay and you would not be willing to pay anything more.
Please turn to and answer Questions 12 and 13.
[Discuss responses to Questions 12 and 13.]
Are there any changes to the alternatives that, if made, you would feel better about voting in favor of them?
Do you think that the application of the protective coating is a good way to preserve the monuments?
Some people have suggested that the value of the outdoor marble monuments can be preserved by replacing the original marble as ti becomes overly eroded or blackend from chemical alterations. Do you think that anything of importance is lost if the original marble is replaced in a way that maintains the original appearance of the monument?
Did anyone have difficulties imagining what would happen on average to the approximately 100 marble monuments in Washington, D.C. based on the photographs I showed to you?
Did anyone have trouble believing that the preservation programs would have the effects shown on Exhibits A, B, and C?
Do you think your choices from the pairs of alternatives would change if I presented you with information about the condition of the monuments beyond 200 years in the future?
Do you think your valuation answers would change if you could compare what the monuments looked like when they were new compared to what they look like today?
For Question 11, your were asked how much you household would to partially protect the approximately 100 outdoor marble monuments in Washington, DC using Preservation Option C. Would your household be willing to pay a higher amount to extend this program to all of the 2,000 or so outdoor marble monuments located throughout the eastern United States in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Richmond? Why or why not?
Does anyone have any additional comments that have come to mind or questions?
Please turn to the final page of your response booklet, and complete the information survey. The information categories on that page are standard survey questions, and your answers will be kept confidential. Your responses are important because they provide us with information about how other people in the Denver area with similar characteristics may feel about the topics we discussed.
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