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Chapter 2

🧰 How to use this guide

🖼️ How might we understand people’s information needs around a health topic? The answer may be stories!

🧠People’s brains are wired to remember information, especially if it is formatted as stories. Stories are more engaging than numbers or dry facts. We tell stories to share experiences of the world around us, good and bad, and how change has affected us.

📜Stories can help us process things that have happened to us, to connect with others, to explain complex concepts, and to share information.

🤳 People are experts on their own experiences, and those experiences are valuable for understanding their relationship to health.

➿ Collect enough stories of people’s experiences related to a health topic, and you can spot patterns in the narratives.

💑 People from the same community as where the stories originated can best identify those patterns.

🤲 Story collection and analysis should be done by the community, for the community, to generate insights and recommendations that benefit the community and inform all partners working toward improving health.

🧰 This guide helps you plan an evaluation of how a community has been affected by its information environment through stories.

🦠 The guide was built on a pilot project in 2023. Members of the infodemic management community, convened by the World Health Organization, analyzed stories of how the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying infodemic affected people in public health. Those stories were then analyzed by other members of the same community.

⛈️ This guide leverages some aspects from Most Significant Change (MSC) methodology, which aims to understand the impact of a program or topic on a community through stories.

⚕️The guide is designed for researchers, public health professionals, civil society organizations, and anyone interested in understanding how the information environment affects conversation and attitudes about a health topic.

🌪️However, anyone can use this guide to examine any issue if there is an unhealthy information environment that may be affecting a group of people and their access to credible, accurate information. This may include social issues such as gender-based violence, civic participation and democracy, racism and stigma, climate change, and other social and development topics.

🏥 The story collection and analysis process is designed to complement existing efforts to diagnose and address health system challenges, improve community engagement, improve communication, and build trust with communities.

🤔 The guide offers a general approach to how you can collect, analyze and act on the stories of lived experiences of a community to improve access to and use of health information and health services.

3️⃣ At different stages of the guide, specific steps can be customized in three ways depending on your context and project needs.

🪟Before developing a project protocol (or plan), fully read through the guide. This will help inform your planning, timelines, and partner and community outreach.

👓 Here are the guide’s steps at a glance:

Visit the resources page for templates, tools, and more.
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