Strategies for stabilising pictorial meaning in a low-literate target group

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Gaede, Rolf. J
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Department of Communication Science, University of Free State
The article discusses the process of developing a nutrition education calendar for an elderly, low-literate target group in Sharpeville. This occurred in three phases: (a) an ex-post evaluation of the existing nutrition education material to identify communicative defects (n=140), (b) pre-testing a sample of semantic units drawn from a draft version of the nutrition education calendar (n=102), and (c) checking whether the target group would like to move away from the adopted illustration approach approximately one year after it was disseminated free of charge in the community (n=106). In all three phases questionnaires, completed by a research assistant in the presence of the respondent, were used as the data collection instrument. The main findings were that (a) several shortcomings relating to object recognition and the logical fit between the caption and the visual image were identified in the first phase, (b) the preferred degree of visual abstraction emerged as the main issue during the pretesting of the draft nutrition education calendar, and (c) during the third phase the respondents opted to stay with the illustration approach, rejecting the possible introduction of alternative illustration styles. Taken together, the three phases of the study illustrate strategies for stabilising the notoriously unstable visual communication component of nutrition education materials.
Nutrition, Education, Sharpeville, Literacy
Gaede, R. (2010). Strategies for stabilizing pictorial meaning in a lowliterate target group. Communitas, 15, 167-182.