Identify available sources of information
What is it?
It is reviewing data to help build a wider understanding of the audience and its behaviour. It also pinpoints secondary data which can identify specific target audiences. Previous research, case studies and statistical sources often include analysis by age, geographical area and so on. Service use data may also be available.
There is a range of information available relevant for cancer. This includes epidemiological information (e.g. one year survival for different cancers), service data (e.g. urgent referral patterns), public awareness data (e.g. results from Cancer Awareness Measure surveys) and attitude data (e.g. information from qualitative research/focus groups). For more ideas, see the East Sussex case study and the Sources of Information tool in the toolbox
Why do this?
In developing a picture of the target audience’s life (what they enjoy doing, what they value, what moves and motivates them), it is important to assess how groups of people differ from each other so that programmes can be developed specifically for each group. More >
By gathering information relevant to the target audience, a picture will emerge about the behaviour of different segments of that audience. In addition, it can identify key influences for that audience, such as the way in which it uses the media, which can form the basis for your own communication programmes.
Your area will have things in common with other areas and the national picture. Research often shows similar attitudes/motivations in similar localities, and using existing information (after checking its relevance) can make interventions quicker and cheaper to develop. More >
The relevance of qualitative research can be tested by repeating the research using a very small sample (running one focus group on the target audience using the same interview structure topic guide as the original research). This will give you a feel for how relevant the conclusions are for your target audience.
How might you do this?
It will be useful to:
- Assess the expertise and experience of team members in collecting, collating and analysing data
- Consider commissioning an external body such as a university or commercial organisation
- Clarify the objectives and scope of data collection
- Clarify who will use the data and how: More >
- Search for any relevant data. Start with a review of the secondary data so that you will not duplicate research already conducted
- Try to develop broad headings under which to arrange the data: for example, how behaviours differ according to demographic characteristics such as age or geographic area; the role of influences such as family; and so on
- Set up manageable spreadsheets so that information can be easily updated and disseminated
- If there is too little information available, primary research may be necessary
Ask other organisations if they can help you find relevant data sources.
An Internet search of key words is often a good start point in tracking down sources.
Avoid becoming swamped by too much information by using simple ways to categorise and organise the data.
Continually ask yourself why you are collecting the information, as it can become a (costly) end in itself.
A spreadsheet, report or other tabulation of key factors relating to the specific challenge and potential target audiences.
An understanding of the wider target audience’s behaviour and influences on that behaviour, according to key criteria such as demographics, geographics, the nature of the behaviour itself, and, possibly, psychographics (that is, lifestyle and personality).