Formative research usually takes at least three months to conduct a literature review, health infrastructure analysis, media analysis, policy review, and close analysis of the country’s Demographic and Health Survey. PMC then embarks on qualitative data collection through focus groups and interviews with the target audience and local leaders. Whenever possible, PMC hires local organizations to conduct the research because local people understand the local languages and culture. PMC is also conscious of researcher gender in order to make focus groups and interviewees feel comfortable and able to answer honestly. The information gathered will be compiled and shared with the writers and producers to help form the writer’s notebook, which will guide the storylines and characters in the drama.
In addition to being used for construction of the drama, the formative research also helps to inform nationally representative surveys to quantify the impact of the drama after broadcast is complete.