Health communicators regularly mix qualitative and quantitative methods as they develop interventions. In fact, most versions of the health communication planning process explicitly call for mixed methods. Qualitative methods aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, and when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are needed more than large samples. Qualitative methods are usually smaller scale, low cost, and rapid. The data are expressed in words, not numbers. The qualitative methods also give the planner a chance to directly experience the intended audience. Specific types of qualitative research used by health communicators to develop interventions include in-depth interviews and focus groups.

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