What are different methods I can use to assess the information needs of my audience?

A variety of methods can be used to assess the information needs of an audience.

There are several methods that can be used to assess the information needs of an audience. 

An environment scan is the process of seeking, collecting, and analyzing information for a specific purpose—often to inform a program, research study, or other activity. Environment scans are almost always conducted at the beginning of a project to help determine its future course or direction. Information can be collected from online databases and bibliographies, online search engines, and interviews.

An online survey can provide crucial information about knowledge gaps, use of information, and preferred communication channels. Surveys can be short and researchers can pretest and deliver them in a relatively fast timeframe.

A key informant interview refers to the process of collecting qualitative in-depth information from an individual who is particularly knowledgeable about the topic of interest. The purpose of key informant interviews is to speak with a wide range of people who have access to the information desired.

A focus group discussion aims to gather information about a particular topic by interviewing a group of people directly affected by the issue. The group discussion allows for interaction among all the members of the group being interviewed.

A network mapping is a social mapping tool that combines the visual aspects of creating a map with an interviews. Using a participatory approach, respondents work with interviewers to address a key question and create a network map of actors related to the question/topic of inquiry.

Learn more about these assessment methods.