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Formative Evaluation

  • By: Brian L. Quick
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Formative evaluation (also known as formative evaluation research or formative research), serves an important role in health campaigns and interventions designed to encourage, reinforce, and change behaviors. Formative evaluation occurs well in advance of a campaign. In fact, this type of research occurs prior to designing and disseminating health messages to the intended audience. Conducting formative research is imperative for health practitioners as it enables them to better understand their audience. Typically, formative evaluation is divided into two stages—preproduction research and pilot testing.

The objective behind preproduction research is to learn as much as possible about the intended audience. For most health campaigns the researchers and practitioners behind the campaign are not part of the intended audience. In many cases, the beliefs and attitudes toward the ...

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