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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Want strong messages that make a difference? Build them on solid evidence.

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

A woman is standing surrounded by stacks of newspapers, reading a newspaper.

Effective nutrition communicators craft messages that are evidence-based. As credentialed food and nutrition professionals, we have the background and training to review nutrition research and translate the findings into messages that make a difference in the lives of our audience members.

Strong messages are built on solid evidence.

Researching a message is Step 4 in the 10 Steps to Creating Compelling Communication. To be effective, we must not only identify our audience (Step 1) and understand what they need (Step 2), we must seek information about the topic selected in Step 3 to provide supporting evidence that is current, accurate, and useful.

Why is conducting research essential?

Our audiences are inundated with nutrition misinformation that is not only rampant but potentially harmful. We can assist them by providing answers to their questions and solutions to their problems that are evidence-based. And, we can provide it using language they understand, supported with relevant examples and practical applications.

How do we research a message?

How do we go about completing this important 4th step in the communication design process?

  • Access information about the selected topic including related health statistics, relevant goals and guidelines, background research and review articles, current research findings, and recent news and articles written for lay audiences.

  • Determine what information the audience needs based on your needs assessment and your focused key messages and desired outcomes. Provide balance and depth without overburdening the audience with too much information.

  • Study the evidence to gain understanding. Seek assistance from subject matter experts as needed. Obtain more information where gaps are identified. Be aware of what is still not fully understood and where further research is needed.

  • Consider how to communicate the evidence to your audience based on what they know and understand and what they want and need to learn.

  • Save copies of articles and complete citations to give credit to your sources.

Need help researching your message?

Section 2 in Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide clearly outlines how to access information, identify credible versus questionable sources, read and interpret research, clearly communicate it to various audiences, and give proper credit.

“Effective nutrition communicators are challenged with staying up-to-date on scientific evidence and providing sound nutrition advice that is interesting and easy to follow, in a way that helps consumers understand how the information applies to their health.” (Chapter 7, Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide)

Strong messages are built on solid evidence.

Completing this important step sets us apart from the internet influencers who base their messages on anecdotal evidence and half-truths. When we combine nutrition expertise with communication expertise we can create messages that are clear and compelling as well as accurate and potentially life-changing.

Understanding and translating research evidence can make a critical difference to your audiences’ health and well-being. Learn how to locate relevant research, understand it, and translate it using understandable terms, presented with useful context.

Strong messages are built on solid evidence.

“Scientists are from Saturn, the public is from Cleveland. Our challenge is to translate science to the public.” ~ International Food Information Council

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