The RANAS Approach to Systematic Behaviour Change
All behaviour is based on processes in people’s minds. Knowledge is activated, beliefs and emotions rise to the fore, and an intention to perform a particular behaviour emerges, eventually resulting in observable behaviour. In other words, these processes, which we term behavioural factors, determine behaviour. To change behaviour effectively, these behavioural factors have to be targeted by intervention programs. The Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, and Self-regulation (RANAS) approach to systematic behaviour change is an established method for designing and evaluating behaviour change strategies that target and change the behavioural factors of a specific behaviour in a specific population. In brief, it is an easily applied method for exploring and measuring behavioural factors, assessing their influence on behaviour, designing tailored strategies that change behaviour and measuring the effectiveness of these. Although it was originally developed to change behaviour in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) sector in developing countries, it is applicable to a range of behaviours in various settings and populations. The RANAS approach to systematic behaviour change involves six phases (see figure): First, specify behaviours, factors and context; second, collect data on behaviours, factors and context; third, conduct Doer/Non-doer analysis; fourth, develop behaviour change campaign; fifth, realize behaviour change campaign and sixth, quantify change in behaviours and factors. In the following, we briefly describe these six phases.
Clic on the phases, tools or outputs to expand all the information.
Although the RANAS approach takes what seems additional effort and resources, it is worth applying, because it results in behaviour change strategies which (1) are tailored to the population, (2) have been proven to effectively change behaviour under local conditions, (3) save resources due to adapted interventions which increase impact, and (4) provide an evidence base for further interventions and upscaling. Not only is behaviour being changed effectively, but substantial arguments are gained with which to attract support from local government and donors for future projects.
We first decide how the project design will look like (step 1.1 Define project design); we then define the exact behaviour to be changed and the specific population group to be targeted – we specify who exactly should change which behaviour (step 1.2 Define target behaviours and target audience). Then, we collect information on the behavioural factors that might influence the target behaviour in the specific population, for example by conducting qualitative interviews (step 1.3 Explore relevant psychosocial and contextual factors). Thereby, we gain a first impression of the behavioural factors that potentially determine the target behaviour in the specific population and context. In the following, the potential behavioural factors that we have identified are included in the RANAS model (step 1.4 Complement the RANAS factors); this means adapting and extending the RANAS model to the local context.
In the previous phase 1, RanasEXPLORE, we have learned about the different behavioural and contextual factors that form part of the RANAS model for behaviour change. The chapter also discussed the importance of carefully selecting the target behaviour and deciding for a project design that fits your context and resources. It also introduced the different steps to conduct qualitative interviews to explore the behavioural factors potentially steering the target behaviour and finally provided guidance on how to adapt the behavioural factors of the Ranas model to your project context.
In phase 2, RanasMEASURE, we will build on the findings from RanasEXPLORE to develop the tools needed for a quantitative baseline survey and discuss what needs to be considered when planning the survey. The first step 2.1 is to develop a questionnaire measuring the behaviour and the behavioural factors, which have now been adapted to the specific context. The information we gained from RanasEXPLORE will guide the development of the quantitative questionnaire. If required, we develop a protocol of structured observations of the target behaviour. In the second step 2.2, the questionnaire and observations are implemented in a baseline survey. The results of phase 2, RanasMEASURE, are quantitative data on behaviours, behavioural factors, and context for the specific target audience.
In phase 2, RanasMEASURE, we discussed the development of a quantitative questionnaire and observation tools based on the findings of phase 1, RanasEXPLORE. In a second step, how to conduct the data collection.
In this phase 3, RanasANALYZE, we will learn how to process the obtained data from the baseline survey and how to determine those behavioural factors that steer the target behaviour. Based on this information, the according behaviour change techniques will be selected and the campaign designed in phase 4.
So far, we have seen how to prepare a behaviour change project (phase 1, RanasEXPLORE) and how to analyse and understand behaviour. For that, we have done an in-depth qualitative analysis and a quantitative analysis of the situation and the context, the behaviour(s) in question and their influencing factors (phase 2, RanasMEASURE). Based on this and comparing doers with non-doers (phase 3, RanasANALYZE), we chose BCTs to change the most influential factors, thus creating a campaign strategy and manual (phase 4, RanasDESIGN).
In this chapter, we will see how to prepare the implementation of the campaign (step 5.1.: prepare to implement campaign) based on the campaign strategy. With the help of these preparations, the behaviour change campaign will be implemented (Step 5.2: Implement and monitor behaviour change campaign), and we will see how to monitor the campaign implementation (Step 5.2: Implement and monitor behaviour change campaign). The same checklists used for training (step 5.1: Prepare to implement campaign) and implementation (Step 5.2: Implement and monitor behaviour change campaign) will also serve for monitoring and thus quality control. The supervisors record whether each activity is put into practice the way it was planned.
In the previous phases, we have seen how to set the parameters of the project (phase 1: RanasEXPLORE), how to analyse the target population’s behaviour, context and behaviour-influencing factors (phase 2: RanasMEASURE and phase 3: RanasANALYSE). The results of the explorative phase and the baseline survey have been used to choose behaviour change techniques and these build the basis for a campaign strategy (phase 4: RanasDESIGN). With the help of the campaign strategy and intervention checklists, the campaign has been implemented and monitored (phase 5: RanasIMPLEMENT).
After having implemented the developed behaviour change campaign, most projects evaluate whether the targeted behavioural factors and behaviours have changed as anticipated. In some projects, a before and after measurement is not possible, in which case this phase does not fully apply. To measure short-term effects, a constant monitoring can be put into place for direct feedback and improvement (phase 5, RanasIMPLEMENT). To measure long-term effects, the follow-up survey should be conducted 6, 12, 18, or even 24 months after campaign implementation. For this evaluation, a follow-up questionnaire has to be developed (step 6.1.), the follow-up survey(s) have to be implemented (step 6.2.) and the data has to be used to quantify the change that has taken place (step 6.3.). Finally, the findings of the evaluation are used to improve the existing campaign, scale it up to a bigger target population and / or to plan future behaviour change campaigns (step 6.4.). Evaluation is important for accountability and learning because it examines the achieved outcomes, the efficiency and the wider impact on people’s lives and allows
Further information & contact: www.ranas.ch; firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication: Mosler, H-J. (2012). A systematic approach to behavior change interventions for the water and sanitation sector in developing countries: a conceptual model, a review, and a guideline. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 22, 431-449.
Authors: Contzen, N., Friedrich, M., Gamma, A., Harter, M., Mosler, H.J., Palacios, S., Slekiene, J., Tamas, A.
Please cite as: Ranas Ltd. (2022). The RANAS approach to systematic behavior change. Methodological Fact Sheet 1. Zürich, Switzerland.
Based on: Contzen, N., & Mosler, H.-J. (2015). The RANAS approach to systematic behavior change. Methodological Fact Sheet 1. Dübendorf, Switzerland: Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.
The Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities and Self-regulation (RANAS) approach to systematic behaviour change is an established method for designing and evaluating behavior change strategies that target and change the factors influencing a specific behaviour in a specific population. In brief, it is an easily applied method for measuring behavioural factors, assessing their influence on behaviour, designing tailored strategies that change behaviour, and measuring the effectiveness of these.
The core of the Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities,and Self-regulation (RANAS) approach forms the RANAS model (see figure). The model has four components: behavioral factors that are grouped into five blocks, behavior change techniques (BCTs) that correspond to the factor blocks, behavioral outcomes, and contextual factors. This Fact Sheet outlines the factor blocks, the corresponding BCTs, the behavioral outcomes, and the contextual factors. More detailed descriptions of the behavioral factors and the BCTs are presented in Methodological Fact Sheets 3 and 4.