Types of Users

The TheoryPicker is intended mainly for public health professionals and students who are not behavioral scientists and who may find theory selection daunting. But the tool may be useful to more experienced practitioners too. For example, it could prompt them to consider alternatives to a theory they typically use.

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Scenario 1: Novice Program Planner

Janice recently got an MPH degree and a job at a state health department. She was excited about her first assignment – planning a communication campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening among middle-aged Filipino women.

No “off the shelf” program had been shown to change this behavior in this audience, so Janet had to design one herself. In school, she learned that the best interventions and campaigns are based on sound behavior change theories, but there were only a few lectures on theories. She didn’t feel confident about selecting one on her own. Using the TheoryPicker to help choose a theory made her more comfortable.

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Scenario 2: Social Marketing Consultant

Dr. Simpson studied international health in graduate school, and spent the next 10 years designing, implementing and evaluating family planning programs in developing counties. He now works in the U.S. as a social marketing consultant.

Dr. Simpson usually advises clients to base their audience research, program planning and outcome evaluations on the Theory of Planned Behavior, and it has served him well so far. Lately, he has wondered whether another theory would be more useful in countries where men make the decisions about women’s contraceptive use. He used the TheoryPicker to second-guess his standard approach and believes that his theoretical “arsenal” has expanded.