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Über dieses Buch

This book brings together the state of the art and current debates in the field of formative research, and examines many of the innovative methods largely overlooked in the available literature. This book will help social marketing to move beyond surveys and focus groups.

The book addresses the needs of social marketing academics and practitioners alike by providing a robust and critical academic discussion of cutting-edge research methods, while demonstrating at the same time how each respective method can help us arrive at a deeper understanding of the issues that social marketing interventions are seeking to remedy.

Each chapter includes a scholarly discussion of key formative research methods, a list of relevant internet resources, and three key readings for those interested in extending their understanding of the method. Most chapters also feature a short case study demonstrating how the methods are used.



Expanding the Formative Research Toolkit

This chapter introduces the Formative Research in Social Marketing book. First, we reflect on the role and importance of formative research which is recommended in social marketing within different frameworks to guide social marketing practice. We then highlight several systematic literature reviews indicating incomplete use of formative research in social marketing, and programs relying on surveys and focus groups as a means to understand what consumers think. However, arguing that programs designed and implemented with no or limited formative research are the anti-thesis of social marketing, we complete this introduction with an overview of each of the chapters included in this book.
Krzysztof Kubacki, Sharyn Rundle-Thiele

Action Research

Action research is applied, problem-based research, which usually involves the researcher as an active participant in an interactive, collaborative, and iterative process. The action research process is usually designed not only to generate knowledge, but also to employ that knowledge. In this context, the knowledge that is generated through the research process would be applied to design, adapt, re-design or improve social marketing initiatives. Action research is one of the formative research methods that tends to require and demonstrate one of the highest levels of researcher involvement. Thus, this chapter will include a consideration of the role of the researcher involved in formative action research, along with a consideration of the uses of this method in social marketing settings. The case study included in this chapter will highlight a real-world action research project that was used to design and deliver changes to a UK-based program offering supported housing to homeless street drinkers. Other examples provided in this chapter will be drawn from real-world social marketing experiences across a range of health, fitness, and social care settings.
Heather Skinner

Approaching Big Data: Harnessing App Information in Social Marketing

Social marketing campaigns frequently incorporate digital components and interactively engage with vast numbers of people. Data from these interactions are multifaceted, multichannel, continuous, and amount to hundreds of thousand or even millions of data points. While dealing with Big Data may require specialist teams and specialist software, large data sets can frequently be managed by researchers without specialist IT expertise but with suitable planning and analytic steps. Digital apps and websites are typical examples of this situation. Setting up front-end (i.e. the user interface), back-end (i.e. the data access layer), and supplementary data collection mechanisms enables the continuous monitoring of trends and can predicate an agile and targeted response to the observed patterns. In order to address these situations, this chapter explores the notion of Big Data with particular emphasis on more easily manageable data sets. The VicHealth TeamUp app serves as a case study to showcase the steps taken to obtain meaningful information and the analytic procedure employed.
Felix Acker, Sarah Saunders

The Consumer Diaries Research Method

The objective of this chapter is to explore the characteristics of the diary research method and its use in a social marketing context. First, the diary research method is discussed and presented, including justification for use, definitions, classifications, typologies, methods of recording data, and contexts for use. The chapter presents one case study featuring use of paper-and-pencil consumer diaries combined with focus group interviews, in the context of alcohol consumption. The advantages and disadvantages of using the consumer diary research method in social marketing are also presented. The practical case study identifies key benefits for using consumer diaries in social marketing research including information gathering and reflexivity of diarists.
Dariusz Siemieniako

Depth Interviews and Focus Groups

Interviews are still one of the most widely used methods today because they enable us to document multiple perspectives of reality; they extend our understanding of people’s motivations, perceptions, and experiences; and they enable us to study ordinary and extraordinary events that happen in ‘real life settings’. This chapter will be looking at two qualitative methods, the focus group interview, and the depth interview. The purpose is to provide an overview of the process that a researcher undertakes when using these research methods, from identifying the problem to analysing the data. While each method can be used on its own, they can also be used to complement each other in order to gain a greater understanding of the research problem, and they can be used to support other methods (e.g. survey based research). Two case studies are referred to throughout the chapter to illustrate how these methods can be used.
Micael-Lee Johnstone

Experimental Methods

Although experimental research is not as frequently employed in formative research as focus groups, it is uniquely suited to formative research. Experimental research (also labelled as causal research) seeks to uncover cause-effect relationships and is particularly suitable for assessing causality. An experiment consists of one or more independent variables (also called experimental/treatment variables), one or more dependent variables, participants (who are exposed to the independent variable(s) and whose responses on the dependent variables of interest are measured), and an experimental protocol. The researcher manipulates the independent variable and then measures the effects on the dependent variable. This chapter explores (1) the concept of causality, (2) different types of experimental research (i.e. field vs. laboratory), (3) main concerns when using experimental methodologies (i.e. internal and external validity), (4) experimental designs deemed most suitable for formative research (i.e. pre-experimental, true, quasi experimental designs), (5) challenges inherent in using experimental methods (e.g. cost, time, control, external generalisability), and (6) opportunities associated with this process (e.g. programs aimed downstream at consumers, and others aimed upstream at policy makers). Numerous examples from the marketing literature to illustrate the experimental methods are discussed within this chapter.
Jane McKay-Nesbitt, Namita Bhatnagar

Visual Observation Techniques

Most scholars agree that social marketing aims to understand individuals, groups and/or communities in order the devise strategies to change behaviour. Yet often the research underpinning this process fails to directly observe behaviour, instead relying on self-reports of behaviour. Visual observation techniques aim to do just this—observe behaviour as it happens, thereby providing a more accurate account of behaviour rather than one that is reliant on participant awareness of behaviour and behavioural influences; and also on participant ability to recall information in sufficient detail. Visual observation is used in many different ways as part of number of research traditions. This chapter focuses on techniques that provide data that is predominately quantitative in nature, via structured observation or systematic observation. In this process, observers capture details of behaviour(s) as they occur, as well as features of the surrounding physical or social environment, and interactions between individuals and these environments. This chapter profiles manual visual observation techniques from a number of disciplines, focusing on a variety of behaviours. These examples and the accompanying discussion demonstrate the value of visual observation, and indicate how visual observation may be used in social marketing formative research.
Julia Carins

Mechanical Observation Research in Social Marketing and Beyond

Observation is a unique method of collecting factual information about consumer behaviours and behaviour change in the real world. The objective and unobtrusive nature of observation makes it perfect for a social marketing enquiry because it overcomes problems common to other techniques, such as memory lapse and social desirability bias in self-reports. Observations can play a part at a formative stage or be the core outcome measure in an evaluation with pre- and post-data collections. Observation data can be collected, coded, and analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Both traditions have been successfully used in social marketing studies and other disciplines. This chapter focuses on mechanical observations, which tend to produce quantitative data, offering researchers the ability to develop numerical benchmarks and observe trends in consumer behaviour and changes over time. In mechanical observations, data collection takes advantage of technological innovations in audio, video, biometric, item, and digital signature recording, allowing for even more objective, precise, and potentially less labour intensive and costly observations. These advancements should help to increase popularity of mechanical observation techniques among social marketers. This chapter summarises the main types of mechanical observation techniques and offers illustrations from prior studies in social marketing, commercial marketing, and allied disciplines, including nutrition, human movement, urban design, and transportation. Innovations in mechanical observations across these contexts are a useful source of research techniques for social marketing and cross-disciplinary studies aimed at improving the wellbeing of individual consumers and society as a whole.
Svetlana Bogomolova

Social Marketing Research and Cognitive Neuroscience

This chapter considers the potential of cognitive neuroscience (mapping brain wave activity and associated physiological and cognitive responses) as a formative and pretesting research approach in social marketing. The chapter begins by considering traditional research approaches in social marketing, discussing some of their limitations and identifying an imperative for the field to embrace newer and alternative methodologies such as cognitive neuroscience to provide a broader research toolkit. A brief synopsis of key cognitive neuroscience methodologies including Electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and eye tracking methods are then presented. The chapter then considers the potential role and utility that cognitive neuroscience could have for social marketing formative and pretesting research, illustrated by a case study of using EEG to pretest social marketing videos on energy efficiency. Some of the strengths and limitations of cognitive neuroscience are also considered. The chapter concludes by identifying some implications and important considerations for the use of cognitive neuroscience in social marketing research, and identifies some ideas for future research and practice.
Ross Gordon, Joseph Ciorciari

Projective Techniques

This chapter discusses projective techniques, an increasingly popular formative research method in social marketing. Projective techniques involve the provision of ambiguous and indirect stimuli such as images or stories to research participants to encourage them to project their own experience onto the stimuli. Projective techniques may also rely on participant-provided stimuli. In marketing and consumer behaviour research, five main categories of projective techniques have been identified: association, completion, construction, expressive and choice ordering. The case study included in the second part of this chapter showcases a research project that uses a construction technique, namely collages, to explore the sensitive relationship between alcohol consumption and sexual behaviour among university students.
Krzysztof Kubacki, Dariusz Siemieniako

Reviewing Research Evidence for Social Marketing: Systematic Literature Reviews

Systematic literature reviews are among the most popular methods in social research. Within the social marketing field, systematic literature reviews have been conducted to document program effectiveness, examine current strategies and practices, and assess the academic landscape of the discipline. This chapter applies the systematic literature review method to examine the use of formative research in social marketing health interventions. A systematic search strategy was conducted which identified 166 self-labelled social marketing health interventions reported in 242 refereed journal articles. Nutrition was the most popular topic, followed by alcohol prevention, HIV/AIDS, and physical activity. A majority of these interventions reported conducting some form of formative research activities to understand the target audience’s characteristics, attitudes, behaviours, and preferred communication channels. Theory and model use was not always reported. Qualitative methods were employed in nearly half of the identified interventions. Relatively limited stakeholder participation in formative research activities was found, particularly of policy makers. Study limitations are discussed and implications for further research indicated.
V. Dao Truong, Nam V. H. Dang

Survey for Formative Research

Surveys are used frequently for formative research. Most frequently this involves baseline behavioural measures. However, surveys are very useful for a wider range of formative research including studying existing knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of a population. One reason is that there is a considerable amount of secondary data that already exists. An advantage of surveys is that data can be collected from a large population relatively cheaply. Surveys can be used to understand a population or to evaluate an intervention. Questions can be asked in a variety of forms—either quantitative or qualitative, open or closed-ended—and allow the potential to get honest answers to sensitive information. In actual use, several surveys have been used to study people’s existing behaviours. Examples include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys such as the BRFSS, NHIS and NHANES. Surveys have also been used to assess the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs that help us to understand those behaviours, often to help segment and target specific segments of a population. Finally, a case study examines how Porter Novelli’s HealthStyles survey was developed and how it has been used to understand a variety of health behaviours.
Mike Basil

Videography and Netnography

Both videography and netnography contain relatively new practices for collecting and analysing data that can be used for formative research in social marketing. The combination of the internet and video also offers new presentation opportunities for research that can potentially reach a broad audience of academics, managers, NGOs, government officials, and ordinary consumers. In the treatment that follows we suggest some common elements between the two methods before first addressing videographic methods and providing a case study of its use for social marketing purposes. We follow with a summary of netnographic methods. To close, we discuss opportunities as well as issues in using both techniques in formative research for social marketing.
Russell Belk, Robert Kozinetz

Case Studies in Formative Research

Formative research is a vital component of the social marketing process. Unless you understand the problem you are addressing from your target audience’s perspective, and gain insight into what would motivate your target audience, you cannot change behaviour. There are numerous research methods which can help you gain this crucial understanding, however some methods are more appropriate than others, and the methods used must take into consideration the audience type and/or topic area. This chapter uses a series of case studies to explore how different research methods have been used to gain the key insights and in-depth understanding of the target audience required to develop effective behaviour change programs. The research methods covered in this chapter include focus group discussions, individual interviews, observations, and photo diaries, plus the use of new technologies including text messaging and video booths.
Rowena Merritt, Michelle Vogel
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