Formative research is the basis for developing effective strategies, including communication channels, for influencing behavior change. It helps researchers identify and understand the characteristics - interests, behaviors and needs - of target populations that influence their decisions and actions. Formative research is integral in developing programs as well as improving existing and ongoing programs.
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2002 Physical Activity Integration Campaign
The Network planed a campaign to promote physical activity among California families with low incomes. The 2001 report, Strategies for Action, presented the results of the Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Section’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Integration Committee planning meeting to identify key strategies for such a program. The formative research included a literature review, review of marketing trends, key informant interviews with community based organizations and potential funders and partners and environmental scans including “walkability” of a community, access to recreational facilities, programs for women and community gardens.
2001 Food Stamp Focus Groups
In 1998, only 54% of eligible Californians took part in the federal Food Stamp Program. In August 2001, ten focus groups were held in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Fresno to examine the problem of underutilization of this food assistance opportunity. Group members, who took part in a structured discussion, included both low-income people who had never participated in the Food Stamp Program, as well as those who had done so in the past but were not currently taking part in the program.
2001 Key Informant Interviews of Food Stamp Stakeholders
During August and September 2001, structured interviews were conducted with 29 experts who work directly with the Food Stamp Program or with populations eligible to participate in the program. The purpose of the interviews was to identify systemic barriers to participation as well as strategies that are working to increase participation.
1999 Network Focus Groups
The Network conducted focus groups in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego during September and October, 1999. The results of these focus groups help guide the development of campaign materials and channels.
1997 Network Focus Groups
In 1997, focus groups were conducted with low-income White, African-American and Latina women with school-aged children who do and do not use food stamps.
2007 Food Stamp Office Resource Kit (FSORK) Evaluation Report
The Food Stamp Office Resource Kit (FSORK) provides nutrition education in waiting areas of food stamp offices using audio visual and print materials to help low-income Californians learn how to purchase and pre low-cost, nutritious meals and snacks. To evaluate the utility of the intervention materials and learn more about the food stamp office as a learning environment for future implementation of nutrition education, the Research and Evaluation Unit in the Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Section conducted an exit survey and observation study from January through April 2007.
Evaluation Case Study Reports
African American Campaign
A theoretically based African American Campaign can increase positive attitudes and beliefs towards eating fruits and vegetables, as well as consumption itself. The Campaign formative research includes festival surveys of African Americans statewide; key informant interviews of program coordinators, pastors, and program volunteers; and behavioral surveys of congregation members. The findings summarize fruit and vegetable intake/beliefs, fruit and vegetable stages of change, food shopping, physical activity behavior/beliefs, organizational change and infrastructure, as well as preferences in nutrition education materials, collateral items, festival activities, and community and mass media outlets. Two research briefs were produced.
The Network for a Healthy California--African American Campaign conducted festival surveys of African Americans statewide to identify the shopping habits and out-of-home eating practices related to fruit and vegetable consumption. Two research briefs were created to summarize the significant findings.
A theoretically based African American Campaign and Physical Activity Campaign can increase positive attitudes and beliefs towards eating fruits and vegetables, as well as consumption itself. The Campaign formative research includes festival surveys of African Americans statewide; key informant interviews of program coordinators, pastors, and program volunteers; and behavioral surveys of congregation members. The findings summarize fruit and vegetable intake/beliefs, fruit and vegetable stages of change, food shopping, physical activity behavior/beliefs, organizational change and infrastructure, as well as preferences in nutrition education materials, collateral items, festival activities, and community and mass media outlets. An evaluation report is in progress and two research briefs were produced.
MEDIA, FESTIVAL, FARMERS’/FLEA MARKET, AND GROCERY STORE INTERVENTIONS Lead To Improved Fruit And Vegetable Consumption For California Latinos
The Network for a Healthy California—Latino Campaign evaluated the cumulative effect of its media and community-based social marketing interventions on fruit and vegetable intake and factors that affect consumption of Latino adults, aged 18 to 65 years. The following research reports were prepared by Desiree R. Backman, Dr. P.H., R.D., Principal Investigator, Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Section, California Department of Public Health, Public Health Institute and Gian C. Gonzaga, Ph. D., Freeman, Sullivan & Co.
Children’s PowerPlay! Campaign
The Network for a Healthy California—Children's Power Play! Campaign model was developed through careful formative research and proven effective through a large-scale evaluation study. The Children's Power Play! Campaign conducts process evaluation on an ongoing basis and uses data from the biennial California Children’s Health Eating and Exercise Practices Survey to continue to assess its effectiveness.
Power Play! Evaluation Study
The Children's Power Play! Campaign conducted extensive formative research during its development phase in 1993, and continues to conduct formative research as needed to ensure continued appeal and relevance to the target audience. In 2007, the Children's Power Play! Campaign conducted focus groups with 9-to-11 year old children and middle school youth to test the new california Champions for Change brand, the new national Fruits & Veggies—More Matters® brand, Harvest of the Month materials, and social marketing concepts for middle schoolers Executive Summary (PDF). In 2002 the Children's Power Play! Campaign conducted focus groups with 9- to 11-year-old boys and girls (PDF), primarily to assess motivators and barriers to increased fruit and vegetable consumption. In 2003, the Children's Power Play!Campaign also conducted dyad interviews with 6- to 8-year-old children (PDF) to test key messages and graphics.
Several types of formative research were conducted to inform the Worksite Program about opportunities for and challenges to using worksites as a channel for promoting fruits, vegetables, and physical activity. From August through October 2002, the program conducted telephone interviews with a sample of 40 business leaders who were selected at random from a comprehensive database of public and private companies in California. To provide a complete picture of what needs to be done in California worksites to improve fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, a total of 12 focus groups were conducted in Oakland and Los Angeles with low- and middle-income working women. Findings indicating employers can help reduce employee obesity and related costs are described in a report issued by the California Department of Health Services. The report was released during a press conference on January 21, 2004.