What is it?

Formative evaluation is normally carried out at an early stage (during scoping) and helps develop the intervention and its evaluation, including setting a baseline.

Why do this?

  • To find out what is likely to motivate the target audience and ensure that the intervention will be accessible and understandable
  • To test whether the proposition is likely to work with the target audience and if they will be attracted to the desired behaviour
  • To establish a baseline of attitudes, knowledge and behaviour against which you will monitor and assess the change that the intervention makes
  • To help identify barriers to implementation
  • To help you clarify your aims and objectives

How might you do this?

  • By using qualitative research methods (focus groups and in-depth interviews).

    For example, in formative evaluation you are looking to:

    • Generate intervention ideas
    • Test concepts
    • Test the validity of potential positioning statements
    • Test copy (the actual words that you will use to encourage behaviour change)
    • Test the marketing


  • There are many research methods and tools that you can potentially use
  • Seek the advice of an experienced researcher, or look at some of the many written sources of advice available, if you are unsure of what to do


  • Information from and about customers that will allow you to develop the intervention and establish a working baseline

Intended Outcome

  • A baseline that helps you set realistic objectives and the outcome measures that will be used for assessment