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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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From the Director's Desk

An introduction to the issue on Public Communications Campaigns and Evaluation by HFRP's Founder & Director, Heather B. Weiss, Ed.D.

Theory & Practice

Using Behavior Change Theory to Communicate Effectively: The Case of Latino Parent Involvement

Anne Pollock (HGSE) and Julia Coffman and M. Elena Lopez (HFRP) reveal how to design communications that are more effective at changing behavior by keeping in mind the factors that influence behavior.

Promising Practices

Using Information Architecture to Improve Communication

Erin Harris from Harvard Family Research Project with Suzanne Muchin, CEO of Civitas, illustrate the design concept “information architecture” for displaying complex information clearly and simply.

Promising Practices

Credibility, Relevance, and Inescapable Truths: Effective Messages for Youth

Tim Mask describes three strategies for improving the effectiveness of behavior change campaigns that were used with success by the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

Promising Practices

Blogging (BLOG’ing)

Julia Coffman of Harvard Family Research Project wants to save you from the embarrassment of making the same mistake she made.

Beyond Basic Training

Understanding Research: Ten Tips

Stephanie Schaefer of the National Association of Child Advocates offers tips on how to evaluate research information for its credibility.

Beyond Basic Training

Keeping It Local

Julie Parente of the statewide child advocacy organization, Voices for Illinois Children, describes a component of their “ground strategy” for effectively communicating campaign messages.

Questions & Answers

A Conversation With Ethel Klein

Ethel Klein, a longtime campaign strategist and pollster, is president of EDK Associates, a strategic research firm based in New York City. Dr. Klein has designed campaigns for nonprofit organizations and foundations on many varied issues.


Beyond the Usual Suspects

Julia Coffman, from Harvard Family Research Project, describes methods for campaign evaluation that are unique to the communications arena.


Keeping Smokey Looking Good at Sixty

For 60 years the Advertising Council has worked on hundreds of public service campaigns on a broad range of social issues, including such well-known campaigns as Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog. George Perlov offers a look at the role of research and evaluation inside the Ad Council.

Evaluations to Watch

International Communication Research and Evaluation at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs

Maria Elena Figueroa from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs reveals the Center’s methods for evaluating communication campaigns and offers five examples of their evaluations in progress.

Ask the Expert

What do evaluators of public communication campaigns need to do to advance their work and this field?

Gary T. Henry is a professor in Policy Studies and Political Science at Georgia State University, co-editor-in-chief of the journal New Directions for Evaluation, and co-author of Evaluation: An Integrated Framework for Understanding, Guiding, and Improving Policies and Programs (2000, Jossey-Bass).

Ask the Expert

How can evaluations of public communication campaigns be of more use to social change efforts?

Dr. Sharyn Sutton and Elizabeth Heid Thompson of the social marketing firm, Sutton Group, in Washington D.C. have worked on the research, strategic planning, and execution of numerous social change efforts and public service campaigns.

New & Noteworthy

This section features an annotated list of resources related to the issue's theme of Public Communications Campaigns and Evaluation.

This issue of The Evaluation Exchange was published by Harvard Family Research Project. All rights reserved. This periodical may not be reproduced whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. To request reprint permission or multiple hard copies of the issue email

Harvard Family Research Project gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of Harvard Family Research Project and do not necessarily reflect the view of our funders.

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