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JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(3): e34275, 2022 Mar 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686332


BACKGROUND: The nonlinear nature of contagious diseases and the potential for exponential growth can be difficult to grasp for the general public. This has strong implications for public health communication, which needs to be both easily accessible and efficient. A pandemic is an extreme situation, and the accompanying strict societal measures are generally easier to accept if one understands the underlying reasoning behind them. Bringing about informed attitude change and achieving compliance to strict restrictions requires explanations of scientific concepts and terminologies that laypersons can understand. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the project is to develop effective, evidence-based modes of video communication for translating complex, but important, health messages about pandemics to both the general population and decision makers. The study uses COVID-19 as a case to learn and prepare society for handling the ongoing and future pandemics, as well as to provide evidence-based tools for the science communication toolbox. METHODS: The project applies a mixed methods design, combining qualitative methods (eg, interviews, observational studies, literature reviews) and quantitative methods (eg, randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). The project brings together researchers from a wide range of academic fields, as well as communication industry professionals. RESULTS: This study has received funding from the Trond Mohn Foundation through the Research Council of Norway's "COVID-19 Emergency Call for Proposals" March 2020. Recruitment and data collection for the exploratory first phase of the project ran from February 2021 to March 2021. Creative communication work started in May 2021, and the production of videos for use in the RCTs in the final phase of the project started in September 2021. CONCLUSIONS: The COVCOM project will take on several grand challenges within the field of communicating science and provide evidence-based tools to the science communication toolbox. A long-term goal of the project is to contribute to the creation of a more resilient health care system by developing communication responses tailormade for different audiences, preparing society for any future pandemic. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/34275.