Click through the images at the top of each module to follow the story of two programmers working to improve nutrition outcomes through complementary feeding.
Illustration of filling in a chart to determine what research exists on the practice of prioritized behaviors in the study districts
Illustration of two people saying there's no data on family member support for feeding a variety of foods, nor what reasonably priced foods are available in markets
Illustration of a woman presenting research methods, qualitative vs quantitative
Illustration of man drawing on map to see distance to markets in program area

After reviewing existing data, decide if formative research is needed to understand what people are willing and able to do in their context, who they need to support them in these actions, and how, using local solutions.

Use worksheet 2.1 and worksheet 2.2 to work through the steps below.

2.1 Review existing literature on priority behaviors.

Determine whether research is needed based on what is already known about each priority behavior and the factors (barriers or enablers) that prevent or support each priority behavior.

Factors That May Prevent or Support Complementary Feeding Behaviors

Figure 1. Factors That May Prevent or Support Complementary Feeding Behaviors

Also identify who must support the practice of this behavior and what actions must they take.

  • Institutional-level influencers: policymakers, market actors, and health workers
  • Community-level influencers: neighbors and leaders, both those in official positions and influencers
  • Household influencers: family systems and individual members who need to support primary caregivers to feed children in a way that primary caregivers want. The specific actions that are needed and feasible depend on the social and cultural context.  

2.2 Design research questions and plan formative research.

Focus the research on:

2.3 Select formative research methods.

Check back for USAID Advancing Nutrition’s formative research decision tree tool coming soon!

2.4 Complete the research plan.

Pull the various pieces of this module together. Choose participants, define research gaps, determine research questions, and select methods.