Opinion Leader Survey

Generally, data from this survey are generated from person-to-person interviews. Using a nominal group process is also effective. Written questions should be prepared to elicit key information from leaders about their impressions of a proposed or ongoing program. An opinion leader survey usually solicits a range of information. Results reflect the degree of consensus about the program from knowledgeable community people. This method plays an important role in assessing political support for a program. It may be invaluable to an innovative program in identifying barriers, acceptability, and initial participant satisfaction. This method will help program planner document community-organizational input to and support for a program.

Community Forum Survey

In the community forum approach, several locations are selected for public meetings with a specific target audience. Community forums are inexpensive and are usually easy to arrange, and typically take one to two hours. The meetings may be open or by invitation. The method can be used to educate current participants and to gather their impressions of the acceptance, diffusion, and levels of participation in the program. A list of key questions must be prepared to elicit audience input. The forum method is most efficient when the meetings are small or the audience is divided into smaller groups of 20-25. A staff member or trained layperson should facilitate and maintain records to ensure participation. The forum encourages a range of community expressions about a problem. Its major disadvantages are (1) one group or individual may control the discussions or use the forum exclusively for expression of a grievance or opposition to the program, and (2) attendance may be limited and information covered may be biased.

Central Location Survey

The central location survey is another technique commonly employed to gather information quickly and efficiently from a large number of people: 100 to 200 in a community. Two to ten sites, visited by a large number of people who possess the characteristics of the target audience for the health promotion program, for example, a shopping center, movie theater, beach, or other pedestrian high-traffic areas in a metropolitan city or rural county, are typically selected. Interviewers identify a specific group, for example, women of a certain racial, ethnic, or age group, and conduct short two- to five-minute interviews of the people on the spot. Questions may concern the person’s familiarity with a health problem, knowledge of the availability of the program and its purpose, or interest in a special program.

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