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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Guidance Notes for Evaluating and Recording Case Studies on Health Literacy

Health literacy is a core theme for Belfast as a member of Phase VI (2014-2018) of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. A health literacy working group was established and tasked with developing a health literacy project in Belfast. 

Recognising that elements of existing initiatives in the city include aspects of health literacy, these guidance notes outline a method to record information from such initiatives and to identify how they contribute to the concept/theme of health literacy. Completing this case study template will increase awareness of health literacy understanding of the number of initiatives already working in the field. The case studies will provide a bank of information to aid replication through the adoption of models of work, influencing future work.

Please read the guidance notes carefully before completing the template.

Download the case study template (Word document)

Case study details


Project name and organisation name


Start and end date, within last 5 years or a good example of health literacy


City, community, geographical area


Catchment area, size, population, community level, target group

Context of initiation

Aim, background to group, what happened  

Outline the health literacy baseline; identify the issue e.g. a lack of knowledge of services. This information is important for context of the case study and for replication. What is the mandate for the project? If no mandate exists, then project may not be developed or sustained.

Context of community or target group

Provide background information on group, level of deprivation (use NINIS statistics if applicable) size of the population, area and socio-economic details; information on the process and things to consider when delivering the project.

Influences on case study

Refer to any local, regional, national or international model or project that influenced the design of the case study.

Policy and other problems

Outline any policy related problems or issues related to the topic the project is addressing. What mandate or prioritisation issue is linked to the work; is it a personal interest or being signed up through statutory agencies? Is health literacy a priority? 

Mention any non-controllable aspects of the project, or system / policy related problems that cannot change or health literacy will have no effect on.  

Prior experience with health literacy across sectors

Include information on project partners. If the case study has no prior experience of health literacy this should be noted, experience of a community development approach and knowledge of the social model of health may be recorded, if applicable.

Concept of health and health literacy

The World Health Organization defines health literacy as ‘linked to literacy and entails people’s knowledge, motivation and competences to access, understand, appraise and apply health information in order to make judgements and take decisions in everyday life concerning health care, disease prevention and health promotion to maintain or improve quality of life during the life course’ (Health Literacy: The Solid Facts, WHO Europe 2013).

Is there awareness of the definition of health literacy or concept being used?

Context of project implementation

Prioritisation of issue

What prioritisation has been given to project?

WHO priority, government or organisational policy?

Formal processes

Please detail:

  • The community / voluntary, statutory agency or funders involved
  • The formal reporting and management structure of the project
  • The steering group members or management committee
  • If a tendering / commissioning process was used
  • Any tool or formal process used E.g. Patient decision making aid

Availability of resources

Outline the resources needed to deliver the project: money, human resources, promotional material etc.

Capacity-building activities

Outline any capacity building activities which took place during the programme. Provide specific information on who benefited from capacity building. Please include if there is evidence the project improved health literacy with the target group, health professionals or those who delivered the project.

Social mechanisms, i.e. activities & actions

Outline the social mechanisms that took place as part of the programme such as activities or actions; the reasons they were chosen and the impact they had on the delivery and success of the case study.

Main outcomes


What made the project acceptable to partners, and to participants? Links should be drawn to the context section to show any change in the community involved.


What made the project feasible in terms of implementing it - within lead organisation/implementing organisation and for participants?


Is the project sustainable? What made this possible? While the potential for sustainability is increased by factors contributing towards acceptability and feasibility, they do not necessarily guarantee sustainability.

Other comments/ information

Comment on any aspect of the case study; challenges, key success factors or points not considered prior to commencing that had an impact.

Headline message(s)

Provide a key message or one line to sum up project or learning from it. Would you do this again? Why should I do it/ not do it?


Please outline evaluation process, measurable outcomes or findings from any formal or informal evaluation conducted.

Further Information

Provide links to any website, relevant report or related strategy.

WHO The Solid Facts: Health Literacy

WHO European Healthy Cities Phase VI (2014-2018) Goals and requirements

For further information please contact Anne McCusker at Belfast Health Cities or 02890 328811.