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Dissemination and Use of Survey Results

The purpose of conducting a survey is to provide evidence that will guide decisions on existing or new policies and programmes. To do this effectively, survey results and their interpretation in terms of status, progress, and challenges need to be shared broadly in the country, at multiple levels and with a range of partners. Box 16.2 shows some common formats used for dissemination.

Time and resources for dissemination events need to be built into the timeline and budget at the survey planning stage. Official dissemination of results is often first conducted with the main agencies and institutions involved, then presented by high-level government officials in a formal press conference. Meetings with policy makers should also be held to implement or strengthen a cross-cutting programme response as needed. These meetings usually entail the development of short- and longer-term plans that address cross-cutting issues, identify responsibilities for programme follow-up, and agree on timelines for improving intervention coverage as well as methods for monitoring and evaluating interventions.

All dissemination activities require a clear explanation of the results and their implications, and the involvement of local stakeholders in planning and preparing for the dissemination. The main points include:

  • highlighting the main results in an accessible language, with technical terms simplified for ease of understanding;
  • using maps or other graphics to increase the perceived relevance of the results and ease of understanding;
  • guidance on interpreting tables, figures, and other materials where needed;
  • presenting the data in comparison to other surveys;
  • showing national and subnational comparisons and trends over time (where possible);
  • comparing results to other countries in the region; and
  • linking the data to programmes and interventions.

An example of a dissemination event can be found in the Generic nutrition survey dissemination agenda online tool.

Box 16.2. Formats typically used to disseminate results and other survey information

Full, detailed report

  • This is an important record of the survey methodology and detailed results, often in tabular form. The full report needs to be produced and maintained for the record, however, it is usually not easily readable for a wide audience due to its length and level of technical detail.
  • In addition to the widely distributed electronic version, a limited number of hard copy versions are usually made available to each organization, institution and funding body involved with the survey planning and implementation process.

Summary report

  • A summary report may include a graphical representation of the data to illustrate the main results. Having descriptive figures that stand alone with appropriate labelling makes the results more accessible to a wide range of partners. Better understanding of the results will help integrate them into broad national health, nutrition, and development plans, and may improve the accountability of stakeholders who implement follow-up activities.


  • A brochure is a very short presentation of a summary of the survey objectives and findings, in an attractive format.
  • Several brochures may be produced with different content, depending on the intended audiences.

Slide presentation

  • Electronic slide presentations are produced for presenting to policy makers, potential donors and the media. These are most frequently presented by senior government or organization officials, usually members of the Steering committee.

Follow-up documents

  • Short- and long-term action plans based on the survey recommendations.
  • Policy documents to reduce the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and to introduce, maintain or improve the implementation of interventions.
  • In-depth analysis document, often with a regression analysis to examine factors associated with certain deficiencies or trend analyses to compare results with previous surveys or other sources of information.