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Barrier Analysis (Facilitator's Guide)

Date of Design
2004. Updated 2010.
Food for the Hungry & CORE Group
Contact Institution
Pathway Component
Caring Capacity & Practices
Health Care
Women’s Empowerment


Brief Description: This rapid assessment tool is used in community health and community development projects to identify determinants associated with a particular behavior. The Facilitator’s Guide has been written for trainers to teach others about Barrier Analysis and/or to learn the technique themselves. It guides trainers through a step-by-step process for conducting the analysis and providing background information on the technique. 

It focuses on eight determinants: perceived susceptibility; perceived severity; perceived action efficacy; perceived social acceptability; perceived self-efficacy; cues for action; perception of divine will; and positive and negative attributes of the action.

Uses: Barrier Analysis can be used in a variety of different ways, including: 

  • At the start of a behavior change program to determine key messages and activities for intervention.
  • In ongoing programs to focus on behaviors that have not changed much despite repeated efforts, to understand what is keeping people from making a particular change.

Tool Components:

  1. Part One: What is Barrier Analysis? Explanation & Training Guide
  2. Part Two: How to Conduct Barrier Analysis (developing questionnaires, collecting & analyzing data) 


Number of Staff Required:  Two people can conduct an analysis in two days for each behavior studied. Larger groups of staff can analyze more behaviors in the same amount of time. 

Time: Analysis of one behavior should take two days. Analysis of more behaviors will require more time or more staff. Note that the guide recommends a sample size of 90 household interviews (45 doers and 45 non-doers), which take an estimated 15 minutes each. Time planning should also account for the time taken to develop the questionnaire and travel time between interviews. 

Cost of Assessment: Not specified; this will vary depending on the number of behaviors studied and the context. 

Training: The Facilitator’s Guide is based on a four-day workshop and provides all instructions needed to train staff. 

Geographic Targeting: This analysis is conducted at community level.

Type of Data Collection: Barrier analysis uses individual interviews (note that focus groups were included in the first version but are not recommended in the most recent version of the guide). 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The guide is designed for people who have some experience in social and behavior change communication and are interested in learning a new technique. Trainee or workshop participants do not necessarily have to know much about social and behavior change, but it is helpful if participants have basic experience developing questionnaires and conducting interviews. 

Complements other Resources: Demographic and health surveys or local knowledge, practice, and coverage studies should be used to define the initial behavior question. This secondary data should be used to identify behaviors with a sufficient number of doers and non-doers. Barrier Analysis and the Trials of Improved Practice (TIPs) methodology are highly complementary.