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close this bookNew Guidebook for Development and Production of Literacy Materials (ACCU)
close this folderSection II: Development and production of learning materials
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View the documentPart 1: Steps of developing learning materials
View the documentPart 2: Collecting and analyzing data for development of materials
View the documentPart 3: Selection of theme and format of materials
Open this folder and view contentsPart 4: Procedure for developing materials for neo-literates
View the documentPart 5: Production of printed literacy materials

Part 2: Collecting and analyzing data for development of materials

The first step in development and production of materials for neo-literates is to collect and analyze the data concerning the target group. The data on profiles and problems of neo-literates would provide information on (1) sex, (2) occupational group(s), (3) age group(s), (4) region or location of residence, (5) classification by issues, (6) others. The materials prepared should be based and linked with the problems and needs to help neo-literates to improve their quality of life.

Pre-requisite of any survey is clear identification of survey objectives, and survey contents in detail.

Suggested survey methods are:

1) observation
2) questionnaire
3) interview

(a) structured
(b) unstructured

4) unconventional methods

Individual(s) need to be selected who can conduct the survey. Compilation and organization of data collected by these individuals would provide required information for developing the material.

Appropriate methods of survey must be carefully selected to identify the real needs of the learners. Sometimes it is rather difficult to see the real problems and needs lying behind what are easily seen. Also it is important to conduct a survey in a relaxed atmosphere so that the learners would not be afraid to express their problems and opinions frankly.

1. Methods of Collecting Survey Data

1) Observation

Observation means observing in depth the situation and living conditions of the target group, such as their daily food, clothing, housing, water, health, recreation and sports, environment and population, communication, income, education, culture and their spiritual life. The observation may lead to identification of learners' problems and needs.

Here is an example of an instrument one may use for observation.

1. Distance between house and the animal shed.

( ) far enough
( ) close to the house
( ) part of the house


2. Utilization of space for home gardening

( ) well utilized
( ) under utilized
( ) not utilized


2) Questionnaire

The questionnaire would cover the following points:

1. Target individual's

a) sex,
b) occupation,
c) age,
d) location,
e) number of family members

2. Questions to ascertain:

a) literacy level
b) exposure to printed material
c) opportunities to use reading and writing skills
d) exposure to electronic media

3. Hardships in daily life in the areas of:

a) family
b) community
c) housing
d) food
e) health
f) profession
g) others

4. General information about the survey: a) surveyor's name b) date and time of survey c) place d) name of the person being surveyed

This will aid in interpreting survey data.

Use questions that are easily understood and concretely stated. Avoid ambiguous or compound questions.

If a large number of questionnaires are distributed over a wide area, use 'check' () style, using 'fill-in' (written) answer style only when necessary.

3) Interview

Interview can be done by asking some people in the community, especially community leaders, including formal leaders like Head of the Village, teachers and government officials who live in the village, and informal leaders such as religious leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, medical personnel, and other prominent people in the community. One can also have direct interviews with the target group. If sampling technique is used to limit the response, one can use 5-10% sampling of both community leaders and the people who are categorized as target group.

(a) Structured Interview

For structured interview it is suggested to use open-ended question as in examples below.

1. How frequently do you listen to educational radio programmes?

( ) often
( ) sometimes
( ) rare
( ) never

Please tell your reason, why?

2. Do you boil water before you drink?

( ) yes
( ) no

Please tell your reason, why?

(b) Unstructured Interview

For unstructured interview the questions can be as follows:

1. Would you please tell us about your problem concerning the water for your daily use in your house?
2. What are your views regarding your children's education?

Some of the examples of questions are shown below:

a) Daily food

- What kind of food do you eat everyday?
- When is your meal time?
- How many times a week do you eat meat, egg, vegetable, fruit?
- How many times a week do you drink milk?

b) Clothing

- How many pairs of clothes do you have?
- How many new clothes do you buy a year?
- Do you make your own clothes?
- What kind of clothes do you like?

c) Housing

- Is this your own house?
- Is the space of your house enough for your family?
- Is the roof leaking?
- Do you plant your garden with crops or flowers?
- Do you have any problem in drainage?
- How do you dispose your garbage?
- Do you have pet animal?

d) Water

- Where do you get water for drinking, cooking and washing?
- Who carries water?
- Is the water filtered and boiled?
- Where do you store your water?
- Do you have enough water?
- Do you store the raining water?

e) Health

- Where do you go when you get sick?
- What kind of disease do you usually get?
- Do you get vaccination?
- Do you keep essential medicine at home?
- How far is the clinic or hospital from your house?

f) Environment

- Do you have your latrine at home? Private or public?
- Is there any proper drainage?
- Is there any place to dispose community garbage?
- Is there any problem of security?
- How do you keep your environment clean and nice?

g), h), i), ...etc.

4) Unconventional method

This method in addition to the three other methods mentioned above is required to collect more information on the problem areas of neo-literate's life.

The following four ways are suggested among others.

1) Single Poster

Draw a village situation on a sheet of paper. It should depict the problems noticed or envisaged by the surveyor. Ask a group of 20-30 people from the village to identify or comment on this poster. Take one problem at a time. Note down the comments and list the problems one by one.

2) Serial Posters

These consist of 5-10 posters. Each poster has a certain picture that can be interpreted as a problem. Ask the viewer to arrange the posters in any sequence and tell a story based on the poster. Problems can be identified from the story they tell.

3) Group Discussion

Through discussions among learners, material producers and others concerned, various needs from different perspectives could be identified.

Fig. Field-survey

Problems which may occur in field survey

1) Target groups do not maintain good cooperation because they do not adequately understand the purpose of evaluation, so that it undermines their confidence and makes them apprehensive.

2) Target groups give wrong information because some fear that the right information would be detrimental for their village's image and some of them are too timid to tell the truth.

3) Surveyors do not accord village leaders the respect they deserve. As a result, this situation leads to bad collaboration between them.

4) Surveyors are not well-trained.

5) Surveyors do not understand about specific dialects and culture of the target groups.

6) Target groups do not have enough spare time, as they are too busy making a living.

4) Flexiplan

Flexiplan is a set of small pictures, drawn on a thick paper, cut one by one, in such a way that the figure is flexible. For example, a figure of woman can be shown as sitting, standing, running, etc. Many such figures can be made concerning the life and situations of the village. Spread these figures on a table or on the floor, and let the people choose and put flexiplans on flannel cloth, creating their real life situations. Then ask questions about the problems emerging from the flexiplans. Such figures can be cut from old newspapers or dry leaves also, and arrangement can be made on the ground.

2. Classifying and analyzing the survey data

1. New Participation Method

There are number of methods in analyzing collected data. One of them which has been proved effective is a method called "New Participation Method" of ACCU. It allows identification of problems and needs very easily and clearly with the participation of all members i evolved.

There are mainly two (or three) stages involved: (a) making a data map on problems and needs, (b) making a data map on solutions to the problems, and (c) on practical actions. Throughout the process, the members are advised not to refer to any written material as reference.

Procedure of New Participation Method

(1) All the personnel involved in survey form groups of about 7 to 10.

(2) After coming back from the field survey, all the members of each group present the identified problems and needs in the village, for about 20 minutes. All the members should express their observations, therefore, each person should limit their speech within 3 minutes or so.

(3) Each member in the group, then, writes down most crucial problems and needs in the village on 10 or more small slips of paper. One item on one slip should be written and about 20 minutes is given for writing. Each item should be written in the following manner: a) in simple language and in short sentences b) clear and practical content c) easily understood by everyone

(4) After writing is finished, each person reads out what he/she has written in turn. Other members listen to the content of slips so that they can be classified according to similarity of content. The members classify all the slips into several groups and paste them on a large sheet of paper.

(5) Each category should be circled and all the slips integrated to make a summarized sentence for each category. Also the number of slips in each category should be indicated as a reference for deciding the priority numbers.

(6) The first data map on problems and needs is completed. The group then follows the same procedure to make the second map on solutions to these problems. Based on the data map on solutions and taking into considerations factors such as national goals, for example, a learning curriculum for the target group can be formed.

(7) Important or crucial items should be taken up as the theme of materials to be produced even if accorded minimal priority through discussion between surveyor, neo-literate materials production specialists and others.

Materials Needed for "New Participation Method"

1) large sheets of paper
2) small paper slips-at least 20 pieces per person
3) scotch tape or glue
4) markers (possibly 3 colours)
5) pencils or ball-point pens for each person

Classifying Data According to Ten Basic Aspects of Life

Data collection can be classified according to human needs. 10 basic aspects of life have been identified and defined by Sarvodaya Development Education Institute of India which clearly enumerate human needs:

A. Essentials for Life

1. Food

All living beings exist on food. In the world today 4000 people die every six hours due to the lack of balanced diet, which is essential for energy, growth and protection. Those who are subjected to malnutrition have low resistance to infection and disease.

2. Clothing

Clothing is necessary to protect oneself from heat and cold, from flies and mosquitoes. It is also connected with culture.

3. Housing

A house with adequate light and ventilation is needed for protection against sun, rain, heat, cold, etc.

4. Water

Water is essential for living beings. Every family, every individual, requires water for drinking, washing, for watering plants, etc. No agriculture or industry can be undertaken in a place without water.

However, the same water which sustains life can also destroy it if the water is not available in adequate quantity or it is polluted. Polluted water carries germs of disease and infection. Water contaminated by the faecal matter of humans or animals may spread diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery infectious hepatitis, etc.

The distance between the house and the source of water has a direct influence on the health of an individual as well as on his/her productive capacity.

5. Health

Physical, mental and social health care is another basic need of man. Recreation and sports are needed to maintain health.

B. Socio-Economic Life

6. Environment and Population

Amongst the factors contributing to the fullest personality development of an individual is his/her environment. Environment here means physical, social, emotional and mental environment in which we live.

Physical environment includes the house, kitchen, latrine, well, other water supplies, garden, soil, vegetation, pathways leading to the house, roads in the village, main roads, air, electricity, etc. Reasonable number of children in each family and reasonable number of people in a certain place should be seen in relation to various aspects of environment mentioned above.

7. Communication

It is an essential basic human need to have a roadway to the village and at least a path to walk, if not a proper road, leading to every household. There should also be communication media within the community and with other communities outside.

8. Income

It is a basic need to have a permanent source of income. Job possibilities can be created in the community by utilizing local resources. Income-generating activities can be taken up by an individual or a community.

C. Educational and Cultural Life

9. Education

Providing education to every citizen through formal and/or non-formal education system should be treated as one of the basic human rights or duties, as the case may be.

10. Cultural and Spiritual

Cultural and spiritual life is needed for peace and harmony in the society.

2. Classification of Survey Data through a Priority List

(1) Priority list of collected survey data

All the data collected by observation, questionnaire, interview and unconventional method should be organized and listed carefully, in order of priority of that particular target group.

(2) Basic method of classifying survey data

1) Arrange data collected by observation, interview, questionnaire, unconventional and other methods into separate categories of target group, issue, etc. in order of priority.

2) The priority of needs of target neo-literates can be easily identified by converting the data collected by the "check" style questionnaire into percentage.

3) Important or crucial items should be taken up as the theme of materials to be produced even if they show small percentage through discussion among surveyor, neo-literate materials production specialists and others.

4) Categorizing survey answers of "fill-in" (written) answer type by separate topics and considering their respective numbers can help in setting priorities.

3. Identification of Locally Available Resources for preparing materials (financial resources/people's cooperation including resource persons/materials already in the local market)

Before the work begins on the materials, it is necessary to identify:

1) financial resources for development and production of the materials. This includes the amount of money to be used and its source.

2) People's cooperation include resource persons comprising writers, content experts, illustrators, photographers etc., who would cooperate in developing and producing the materials.

3) It is essential to see the materials already available in the local market to avoid overlapping or for their use as references.


Sample of the priority list

date: __________

name of surveyor:


1. Place: (name of the village/community surveyed, etc.)

2. Target group:

(number of people) ___________________________

(sex, age, occupation, etc.) _____________________

(level of literacy) ______________________________

(others) _____________________________________




A. Essential for life

· Food

· Clothing

· Housing

· Water

· Health, recreation and sports

· Others

B. Socio-economic life

· Environment and population

· Communication

· Income

· Others

C. Educational & cultural life

· Education

· Cultural and Spiritual

· Others