Using formative research to tailor a community intervention focused on the prevention of chronic disease.Eval Program Plann 2019; 78:101716EP
This case study attempts to illustrate and address in-depth the issues surrounding the collection, analysis, and application of formative research findings to program development and implementation. We provide an in-depth case study of tailoring a program for the residents of Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The formative research process includes collection and analysis of secondary data sources, extensive in-person interviews with community leaders, and in-depth focus groups with members of the population of interest. Findings from the formative research are then applied to tailoring the program materials and presentations and the training of the integrative team of health professionals that offer the program. Distinct components of program are tailored to the realities of the social, cultural, historical, and health and medical contexts in each community while other components of the program are tailored to individual participants. Overall, we believe this case study fully illustrates the utility of formative research in tailoring evidenced-based programs to increase program relevance and positive outcomes while maintaining fidelity to a program's learning objectives and evaluation. We hope this in-depth account with specific examples proves useful as a guide to others when designing and conducting formative research to tailor health and medical interventions to the audience.