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How to use this manual
What is formative research?
What do you want to know?
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How are they analyzed?

One of the complications for using surveys is doing the resulting data entry and analysis. Too many agencies have participated in county-wide surveys, had clients fill out forms, handed them in to the research team, and never heard anything back. Conducting surveys simply to fulfill a scope of work, or to please funders will practically guarantee that the results will not be useful to the agency.

Data also needs to be cleaned, which means that someone needs to go through and make sure the responses make sense and are reliable. Data cleaning is especially important if surveys are self-administered by youth or low literacy folks.

Case Study
  Michelle’s program has shown some remarkable results with the 12-18 year old population, including substantial increases in condom use and discussing safer sex with their partners before sexual activity. She uses a one-page questionnaire that is a part of the curriculum. But if she could add any questions, what would they be?

Flyer.jpg (8335 bytes)Flyer produced by Linda Vista Healh Center, San Diego

“General things I think might be helpful in measuring behavioral change for the risk for HIV/AIDS would be: Are they gang members? Who taught them about sex? Have they ever been molested? Do they have sex alone or with their friends (trains, intimidation, peer pressure)? Are they allowed to have sex at home? With or without parental knowledge? I would ask directly, have you ever shot up before? What is your drug of choice? That could definitely be helpful in a kid that originally said their drug of choice was shooting up, and then three months later finding out that their drug of choice was marijuana. It would have definitely decreased their chance of contracting HIV. Outside of HIV/AIDS, I’d ask are you a victim of violence? Is your Daddy living at home? Are there drugs in the house? I could go on and on.”



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Good Questions, Better Answers --  1998 California Department of Health Services and Northern California Grantmakers AIDS Task Force  --