Motivation & Aims of the EPIDASA project
Motivation for the project
A crucial problem in this regard is the fact that there have hardly been any attempts at a scientific, systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the impact that current prevention interventions are having on the epidemic in South Africa (cf. Kelly 2000; 2001). Very little exists, in fact, by way of documented research on the impact that specific programmes, key components of programmes or the cohort of prevention messages have on the South African population.
With regard to the latter, the absence of literature on the evaluation of programme documents (e.g. brochures, booklets, leaflets, posters, videos, advertisements, etc), testifies to the fact that these key components of the communication strategies of programmes hardly receive any attention.(Cf. also Coulson 2002, Kelly 2000; 2001; Kelly, Parker & Oyosi 2002).
The lack of resources that most of the governmental and non-governmental agencies experience, makes it relevant to invest in research in which the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS persuasive documents is investigated. That is precisely what this project intends to do. It focuses on situations in the South African society which are pivotal in effectively fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS and in providing care and support to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and in which effective communication can make the difference:
- situations in which people are persuaded to have safer sex
- situations in which people are persuaded to go for voluntary HIV/AIDS, testing and referral
- situations in which people living with HIV/AIDS are instructed to take the necessary care and their caregivers to provide the necessary support.
Overall aims and research objectives
The overall aim of this project is to improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS information and education documents (e.g. brochures, booklets, pamphlets, advertisements, posters, etc.) for South African target groups.
The project distinguishes two crucial stages in improving these documents. The first stage is taking well-considered design decisions on content, structure, style, presentation and layout. The second stage consists of tailoring a resulting concept document to the needs and preferences of target audiences. In South?Africa the diversity in cultural and demographic background of the various target groups provides an extra challenge for designing effective prevention documents (cf. Perloff 2000; Matsumoto 2000).
Sophisticated knowledge about both stages in the design process is a prerequisite for attaining the goal of the project. Therefore, there are two main research questions:
Given the overall aim of the project to improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention messages, it is necessary to generate knowledge about:
- Which choices with respect to content, structure, style, presentation and layout will improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS information and education documents for the diverse cultural and demographic target?groups in South Africa?
- Which evaluation techniques will improve the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention documents for the diverse cultural and demographic target?groups in South Africa?
- the effects of fundamental design decisions and
- the way in which concept messages can be tuned to the needs and preferences of the various target groups.