HealthCompass How-to Guide
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
April 20, 2015

"A situation analysis or environmental analysis is the fundamental first step in the social and behavior change communication change (SBCC) process."

This Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) guide, one of five [see Related Summaries below] supplies communication staff with a step-by-step procedure for situation analysis that focuses on "identification of priorities for an SBCC intervention and informs all the following steps in the SBCC process." A situation analysis, in brief, "involves a systematic collection and study of health and demographic data, study findings and other contextual information in order to identify and understand the specific health issue to be addressed. It examines the current status of the health issue as well as the social, economic, political and health context in which the health issue exists and establishes the vision for the SBCC program."

This research, part of the inquiry phase of the P-Process [See Related Summaries] at the beginning of a project, can engage stakeholders "including opinion leaders, service providers, policy makers, partners, and potential beneficiaries", through "in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, community dialogue, small group meetings, taskforce engagement or participatory stakeholder workshops." Four areas for information gathering include:

  • "The problem, its severity and its causes.
  • The people affected by the problem (potential audiences).
  • The broad context in which the problem exists.
  • Factors inhibiting or facilitating behavior change."

Steps (in summary here, elaborated with illustrations in the document and links to definitions, charts and templates designed to be of use in the analysis) include:

  • "Step 1: Identify the Health Issue
  • Step 2: Develop a Problem Statement
  • Step 3: Draft a Shared Vision
  • Step 4: Conduct a Desk Review
  • Step 5: Decide the Scope of the Review
  • Step 6: Identify the Relevant Information
  • Step 7: Review and Organize the Data
  • Step 8: Analyze the Data and Summarize the Findings
  • Step 9: Fill the Existing Gaps"

The document includes resource links, templates, samples, tips and recommendations, a glossary and concepts section, and sources and citations.