Public Communication Campaign Evaluation
This 34-page document presents what had been happening in the field of public communication campaigns in the years leading up to 2002 (to sum up, it was becoming more sophisticated, diverse, and tied in with on-the-ground community action). It goes on to examine evaluation challenges, criticisms, and practice, and includes sections on relevant theory, outcomes, and useful methods for designing evaluations. It also outlines some ways to improve evaluation in the future.
The author summarizes the fourth section, on campaign evaluation in practice:
A. Theory – Evaluators use theory to understand campaigns and to guide evaluation design and practice. Theories are drawn from the public health, social psychological, communications, and clinical disciplines. Theories used to guide campaign evaluations include the Theory of Reasoned Action, Social Cognitive Theory, the Health Belief Model, and Stages of Change Model. Theories particularly applicable to public will campaigns include Agenda Setting, Framing, and Priming.
B. Outcomes and Measures –There are many more relevant outcomes for public communication campaign evaluation than just the usual suspects – knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Process evaluation can assess campaign distribution, placement, and exposure. Outcome evaluation can assess knowledge/awareness, saliency, attitudes, norms, self-efficacy, behavioral intentions, behavior, skills, and environmental constraints. Outcomes particularly relevant to public will campaigns include media frames and policy change. Impact evaluation can capture the longterm outcomes of behavior change and systems-level outcomes.
C. Methods – Some evaluation methods are uniquely suited for communications evaluation. Process evaluation uses newspaper, television and radio tracking, Web site monitoring, ad assessments, and case studies. Outcome evaluation uses direct response tracking, framing analysis, and rolling sample surveys. Impact evaluation uses experimental or quasi-experimental research designs.