Individual Outreach Field Experiment
Posted on June 2, 2016; Last updated on September 20, 2017
The Individual Outreach Field Experiment is a longitudinal randomized controlled study for testing interventions designed to change the eating habits of individuals. Leafleting, direct mail and online advertising will be concurrently applied to selected treatment areas in the United States. The three interventions will be deployed using a combination of messages and styles representative of current interventions applied by The Humane League and other animal advocacy groups. In the treatment areas and carefully matched control areas, changes in aggregate grocery store purchases of selected categories of animal and plant products will be measured using data procured from a private broker.
The methodology primarily relies on direct measurement, rather than self-reporting, of changes in the consumption of animal products resulting from the interventions. Online engagement and additional quantitative metrics related to patterns of food consumption will also be employed as auxiliary assessments of the impact of the interventions. The grocery store purchasing data may be supplemented with qualitative surveys on self-reported consumption habits, awareness of the interventions and attitudes regarding diets, producing a more complete understanding of the impact of individual outreach techniques.
By matching treatment and control areas for similarity of demographics, population size, grocery stores, and the selection of products at the grocery stores, animal product consumption rates can be compared between the control and treatment groups. Measurements of these consumption rates will be made before and after the intervention and continue periodically for at least two years. Our methodology will aim to achieve statistical power adequate to detect effect sizes as low as a 2% change between treatment and control groups. If necessary, we may split the treatment group into "high" and "low" treatment subgroups with the former receiving more weeks of intervention than the latter.
The study will be pre-registered and the methodology released for public review prior to finalization. If you have questions about the Individual Outreach Field Experiment, please contact jpeacock at thehumaneleague dot org.