is formative research and
how can it help your agency?
research looks at the community in which an agency is situated, and helps agencies
understand the interests, attributes and needs of different populations and persons in
their community. Formative research is research that occurs before a program is designed
and implemented, or while a program is being conducted. Formative research can help
define and understand populations at greatest risk for HIV
create programs that are specific to the needs of those populations
ensure programs are acceptable and feasible to clients before launching
improve the relationship between clients and agencies.
Formative research should be an integral part of developing programs or adapting
programs, and should be used while the program is on-going to help refine and improve
||Michelle teaches the Be Proud, Be
Responsible curriculum to teen girls and boys in detention, probation and in
alternative schools in San Diego County. Although she has a set curriculum to follow,
before she starts a class, she asks the kids a few quick questions. Usually I go
through and I ask them to tell me their name, age, whether they have a child or not, if
theyre gang members, something they wanted to be when they were a little boy. Some
kidsll say, I always wanted to be a gangster. My daddy was, my uncle
was. So I know what his mentality is. Another will say, Well I always wanted
to race cars. And if the whole class starts laughing, then I know that he does GTAs
(grand theft auto). Ill say, Oh, so you still like that? I can pick up
right away why hes saying that.
doing? Formative research. She asked a few questions of her audience to get a sense of
their background and issues so that she could adapt the curriculum to their needs.
Michelle conducted a very quick interview with each teenager and then used the data
collected to refine and improve her program.