After completing data collection, it is time to mine the data and look for patterns. When you are analyzing the results from your survey, look for inconsistencies between actual behavior and attitudes and perceived norms. When these differences are consistent with your campaign and the majority of students adhere to the beneficial idea, use them in your message creation. One inconsistency that might be present in the data could be differences between actual behavior and perceived behavior: you might find that students report. For example, they consumed 0-4 drinks the last time they partied, but they believe that the average student consumed 5-8 drinks. After discovering this statistic, you might craft messages such as, “Most students drink 0-4 drinks when they party,” to correct the misperception regarding descriptive norms.
The most important descriptive to look for in the data is the 51% or greater stat. Look for items where “most” (i.e., over 50%) of your students adhere to the beneficial behavior. These stats could occur in injunctive norms (i.e., “Most students believe passing out from drinking too much is wrong.”), protective behaviors (i.e., “Most students use a designated driver, even when only having one or two drinks.”), or any other numerous behaviors.
After finding some important trends, use those trends to create messages. Experiment with these early messages by using different vocabulary (e.g., “66%” vs. “Most” vs. “Majority), using different behaviors to find out which ones are the easiest and most acceptable to perform (e.g., “eating while drinking” vs. “keeping track while drinking”), using varying degrees of citations (e.g., large citations vs. small citations of data source”), and other various message components. After creating preliminary messages, pretest those messages on small groups so that you can refine your messages before presenting them to the entire population. Some things you might examine in pretesting include which messages are most socially acceptable, which are believed to be the most effective, and which messages have the highest believability.