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Health Literacy - A Scoping Study: Final Report

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4. STUDY METHODS AND APPROACH

4.1 The study was conducted in two stages. Stage 1 was desk based, and consisted of a document analysis, together with online searches. Stage 1 addressed objectives a and b as well as parts of objectives c and d. Stage 2 was conducted using key informant interviews. Stage 2 addressed mainly objectives c, d and e. This report presents the findings of both stages.

4.2 The purpose of the interviews was to test out the key messages emerging from the document analysis, to fill gaps where no published material was available, to allow a range of views to be heard, to capture a selection of current ideas and actions which relate in some way to health literacy and its improvement, and to identify possible options and approaches which merit further investigation.

4.3 The report based on the documentary analysis conducted at Stage 1 was sent to all interviewees in advance of the interview itself, together with the Topic Guide (see Annex 1) which was developed from the Stage 1 work. However, it is important to emphasise that the coverage of individual interviews varied substantially, depending on the particular background, interests and knowledge of the respondent.

4.4 The list of interviewees (see Annex 2) was developed in collaboration with the commissioners of the work after Stage 1 had been completed. The focus was on selecting interviewees who are practitioners, policy makers and professionals in the field or who were known to work in areas with some relevance to health literacy; the voice of patients, carers and the general public was not specifically sought, although some interviews touched on accounts and experiences of these wider population perspectives.

4.5 In total, 25 2 interviews were conducted - 19 were conducted face-to-face with the remaining 6 conducted by telephone. Interviews lasted between 40 minutes and 1.5 hours.

4.6 The findings are presented separately for each stage in Section 5 and Annex 3 (Stage 1) and Section 6 (Stage 2) below. The conclusions and recommendations which follow in Sections 7 and 8 below are derived from an integrated and synthesised analysis of both elements of the work.

4.7 It is important to note that this work was designed to be conducted in a short timescale and to provide a platform from which a more detailed policy response could be developed. The document review (Stage 1) is NOT intended to be a comprehensive literature review; and the key informant interviews (Stage 2) are NOT intended to be a comprehensive account of all health literacy work ongoing in Scotland. Rather the work is illustrative, and provides examples of the kinds of initiatives and responses which are being tried or tested or implemented in relation to health literacy.