Step 1: Define clear and simple aims

Taking adequate time at the beginning of the activity to define, agree and record a few clear and simple key aims is very important…

Why do this

Your aims will inform:

  • which topic/s to engage on
  • who to engage
  • which methodology to choose
  • how to analyse the data
  • the outline of the report to decision-makers

During the process of planning and carrying out the activity questions will arise; being able to refer back to the aims may throw light on answers.


  • What information or change do I want at the end that I don’t have now?
  • What are the key aims?
  • Do I want qualitative or quantitative data - or both?
  • What type of report do I need to produce at the end?
  • Who will the report go to?
  • What will the information be used for?


  • It is important to establish clear aims at the beginning
  • Use the aims to test your plans for engagement
  • Use the aims as a framework for any questionnaire or briefing
  • Use the aims as an outline for reports


  • Two to three strategic-level aims with which to guide the process.