Consumer Education Initiatives in Financial and Health Literacy. Interview Protocol and Information Sheet


Interview Protocol


  • Audio recording equipment
  • Consent form (one copy to sign, one for respondent to keep) (For telephone email or fax one day before)
  • Interviewer clock/watch


  • Speaker phone
  • Email or fax consent form to respondent one day before interview:

Procedures for obtaining informed consent 

IN-PERSON: Before the interview, review informed consent and provide an unsigned copy of the form to respondent.

NOTE: AIRs IRB may request that respondents external to the government must sign a consent form.

FOR TELEPHONE: Respondent will be sent an informed consent form before the interview. At start of interview, interviewer will ask if they have any questions about the consent form and if they agree to be interviewed and audiotaped. A waiver of signed informed consent will be obtained from AIRs IRB.

Key informant interviews
(60 minutes total)
(in minutes)
for each section
Topic Elapsed time
at end of section
5 Introduction (welcome; background; ground rules) 5
5 Background (roles, responsibilities) 10
40 Financial & Health Literacy 50
5 Lessons Learned 55
5 Closing 60

Introduction                     (start at _____ 5 min end at _____)

Welcome and Backgroundexplain purpose of the interview

  • Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. My name is {NAME} and Ill be talking with you today. I work for a company called the American Institutes for Research, which is an independent non-profit research organization.
  • We are working with the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to understand what initiatives and efforts have been made or are currently underway on consumer education relating to health and financial literacy. We are particularly interested in any efforts aimed at low-income consumers. The purpose of our interview today is to learn what you do in the areas of health and financial literacy.
  • The interview will last no more than an hour.
  • FOR TELEPHONE: Did you read the consent form that was sent to you? Do you have any questions?

Go over ground rules

  • I will be developing a report based on several interviews. The report wont connect your name with anything that you say. The report will include your name and division/organization name.
  • At any time during our conversation, please feel free to interrupt me if you have any questions or if you rather not answer any specific question. You can also stop the interview at any time for any reason.
  • Is it OK if I audiotape this interview today?

{Turn on recording equipment.}

Background                     (start at _____ 5 min end at _____)

Id like to begin by asking you some questions about you.

  1. How long have you been with [agency/division/organization/office]?
  2. What is your title at X?
  3. What are your major responsibilities in your current position?

Health and Financial Literacy      (start at _____ 40 min end at _____)

I want to talk about financial and health literacy. For financial literacy, we are interested in initiatives aimed at individuals or families to increase their ability to understand, plan, and manage finances, both in the short term and the long-term. It can include decision-making and understanding the trade-offs when faced with multiple options. This might include efforts aimed at numeracy only, or more complex initiatives aimed at increasing a person or familys ability to manage and plan their finances.

For health literacy, we are interested in initiatives aimed at individuals or families to increase their ability to manage their health, or health care, understanding health risks, choosing health insurance, and health decision-making.

  1. Do you have any questions about these concepts? First, I would like to talk about what [AGENCY] is doing in general. Can you tell me a bit about what types of initiatives that your [AGENCY] is undertaking generally?
  2. Are there specific [AGENCY]-wide priorities? IF YES: what are they?
  3. [FOR AGENCIES WITH SPECIFIED EFFORTS]: Now I would like to talk specifically about initiatives related to financial and health literacy. I have listed that you are responsible for _____________. Is that correct?  Are there any other financial or health literacy efforts that may be of value to low-income persons that you have been or are responsible for?

    [FOR AGENCIES WITHOUT ANY KNOWN EFFORTS]  Does your [AGENCY] have initiatives in financial or health literacy that may be of value for low-income persons? These efforts may not be specific to low-income persons, but may still be of value for them.

    1. Do you have financial or health literacy initiatives aimed at other populations?
    2. [IF NO TO Q6 AND Q6A, GO TO Q8]
  4. Great, now I would like to talk about this initiative/each of these initiatives. Lets talk about [NAME OF INITIATIVE] first. [FOR EACH INITIATIVE, ASK]
    1. What is the main reason for the development of this initiative?  In other words, what is the history of this initiative and how it came to be?
    2. What is the initiative trying to achieve? What are the goals of the initiative?
    3. What population or populations does the initiative target? (PROBE ON elderly, immigrant, non-native English speakers, limited English proficiency, and very low-income.).
    4. Does this initiative target low-income consumers specifically or more generally?
    5. What are the behaviors that the initiative is asking consumers to perform?
    6. Would you say that this initiative focuses more on financial literacy, health literacy, or it focuses equally on both?
    7. Are any of the components in this initiative translatable to financial literacy initiatives? Are any of the components in this initiative translatable to health literacy initiatives?
    8. Did you work with any other operating divisions within the government on this effort? Which ones? What was involved? How did that work?
    9. Did you evaluate the effectiveness of the effort? What were the findings?
    10. Are there any measures of success of the efforts? If so, what were they?
    11. What are the major lessons learned? What would you have done differently?
    12. Were there any unanticipated outcomes, good or bad, from the initiative?


  1. Is your [AGENCY] involved in any research projects that would help to develop financial and health literacy programs? For example, is your [AGENCY] supporting any efforts that examine best practices to improve financial literacy?
    1. What are the research tasks?
    2. Are there any findings?

Lessons Learned           (start at _____ 5 min end at _____)

  1. Based on your experiences, what lessons learned can you provide for strengthening consumer education programs on financial and health literacy?

Closing                            (start at _____ 5 min end at _____)

Thats all the questions I have.

  1. Is there anything else that you would like to add about any of the topics we have discussed or other areas we didnt discuss but you think are important?

Thanks for your time and participation in this interview. [NOTE: END RECORDING]

Consumer Education Initiatives in Financial and Health Literacy Information Sheet

Goal and Purpose: The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is working to identify current strategies, efforts, and programs conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), other governmental operating divisions, and private organizations in both financial and health literacy, and identify ways the two bodies of knowledge can inform each other. The project is funded by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). The purpose of this interview is to learn about your experiences to better understand current approaches to promoting consumer education in the areas of health and financial literacy.

Procedures: The interview will be conducted in person and will last approximately 60 minutes. With your permission, we will record the interview as a backup for note taking. Only project staff will have access to the audio files. You may refuse to answer any question or end the interview at any time.

Data Reporting Procedures:  We will be developing a report based on over 40 interviews. The report wont connect your name with anything that you say but it will include your name and your division or organization name. In some cases, it may be apparent to readers that you provided information. After the interview, the audio files will be kept on a secure server that can only be accessed by authorized project team members. Notes will be maintained in computer servers that meet data security standards. Data collected as part of this project will be retained for up to three years after the projects end. You may ask questions about the project at any time.

For more information:

  • If you have questions or concerns about this study, please contact the project director at AIR, Elizabeth Frentzel, at,919-918-2319, 101 Conner Drive, Suite 301, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
  • If you have concerns or questions about your rights as a participant, contact AIRs Institutional Review Board (which is responsible for the protection of project participants) at  toll free at 1-800-634-0797 or c/o IRB, 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW, Washington, DC  20007.

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