Gather and Review Secondary Research and Existing Data

Insightful information may already exist about demographic, geographic, behavioral and social factors that affect how people respond to the emergency. Data reviewed may be available in country or elsewhere, and it should be as recent as possible, ideally within the past five years. Examples of useful secondary data include demographic health surveys (DHS), multiple indicator cluster surveys (MICS), knowledge, attitudes and practice surveys (KAP), media consumption studies and project reports from organizations working in the affected areas. Below is a list of sources that can be approached for identifying information for an initial desk review:

  • National and regional government departments in the country that may have existing information about demographics and household behaviors. Examples of relevant ministries include the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport to review movement between borders, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources in the case of emergencies caused by zoonotic diseases.
  • Relevant TWGs in the country.
  • International, national and local NGOs that have implemented interventions or conducted assessments and evaluations of KAPs relating to the issue causing the emergency or other relevant areas.
  • Global agencies such as the UN and bilateral institutions.

  • Research organizations, universities and statistics offices, and associated anthropologists working in the field.
  • Service delivery organizations that may have information about how populations access and perceive services.
  • Media, telecom and internet service providers that can provide data on media, telecom and internet habits and other formative research carried out to inform their products and services.
  • Peer-reviewed journals addressing similar outbreaks in the country or elsewhere, or about relevant practices within the country.

Secondary research can provide both quantitative and qualitative information. Examples of the type of information to look out for when conducting a secondary review include:

Behavioral Information

  • Information regarding health practices such as vaccination and health-seeking behaviors that can affect how the population responds to the emergency.
  • Household behaviors such as hygiene practices, nutrition, agricultural and animal rearing and hunting practices in the case of zoonotic diseases, and religious and cultural practices that may affect health outcomes.
  • Additional information on KAP indicators related to the emergency.
  • Barriers and facilitators for protective behaviors at the individual and household levels, and within the environmental and social contexts.
  • Use of mass media (listening habits) and social media connectivity and use as a credible information sources.

Epidemiological Information

  • Epidemiological data regarding the health issue linked to the emergency.
  • Inter-border exchanges that may affect how the disease spreads.

Contextual Information

  • Literacy levels and media habits.
  • Social, cultural and religious beliefs, norms and practices.
  • An analysis of the market and supply chain in the case of zoonotic diseases.

Exercise: Gathering Existing Data Sources to Inform Needs Assessment

Worksheet 2.1 will help you identify where to start your search of relevant documents for the desk review. At the onset of an emergency, time will be limited to conduct a detailed needs assessment; however, the importance of having robust and reliable data to inform the communication response cannot be underestimated.

Worksheet 2.2 provides a template to support you in reviewing secondary data in a systematic way and to highlight important information that can guide the communication response. The first part of the worksheet provides a template to summarize the data obtained through a desk review. The second part aims to help you make sense of that data and asks some key questions that relate to behaviors, perceptions, knowledge and attitudes that impact how the affected populations perceive and respond to the emergency.

Please note that some of the worksheets in this section are accompanied by completed examples. The completed examples will likely include information about an emergency that during an actual event might not be immediately available. This was done to illustrate the full range of information to inform a strategic communication response. As more data becomes available, update this worksheet.