Social Marketing
Nutrition and Physical Activity

Step 3: Choose Data Collection Method(s)

Common Formative Research Methods

  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews/intercept interviews
  • Observations/environmental scans
  • Surveys

Each of these methods has special considerations and strengths and weaknesses, so you should be aware of these before starting. CDCynergy: Social Marketing Edition has a great resource in the "Tools for Research" tab (on the right hand side of each page) for finding out more information on these methods and a range of other methods. CDCynergy also lists advantages and disadvantages of each method.

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This step is a good time to decide whether you will conduct all of your formative research at the same time or if you want to do it in several rounds. If you find that you need to answer some of your research questions before you can answer others, approaching formative research in smaller rounds may be helpful. You can answer some questions and then use those answers to inform the rest.