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A variety of forms may be used for presenting and communicating new information. Designers of any new strategy in response to the global problematique must necessarily select and encourage modes of communication that will facilitate mobilization and coordination of resources, ensure appropriate interaction between those participating, as well as enabling communication with those affected by the strategy but unskilled in the conceptual or procedural language through which it is organized. For optimum communication, a strategy should make use of a set of distinct and complementary forms through which information can be communicated under different conditions, with each form counteracting the weaknesses and excesses of others. This section endeavours to describe briefly the range of forms of presentation that can be selected and combined in any communication strategy. It deliberately avoids the usual tendency to focus narrowly on some particular set of forms, such as the mass media.
The section contains 528 entries each describing briefly a different form of presentation or implying a different mode of communication. Where the information is available, each entry indicates the strengths or weaknesses of that mode, especially in relation to development processes.
The information used was obtained from a wide range of specialized reference books.
Detailed comments are given in Section XCF at the end of this volume. See notably:
Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension. Collection of papers arising from work in connection with the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (GPID) project of the United Nations University (UNU).
The value of the information in a section of this kind is in the extent to which it gives an understanding of the set or pool of available forms on which a programme designer can draw. There are of course whole libraries on many of the individual entries but they seldom help to convey this understanding. The information available seldom detailed the unique strengths or weaknesses of any particular form as they must necessarily be recognized by those attempting to design a communication strategy using complementary forms. The entries are therefore indicative rather than definitive. Entries have occasionally been included because they raise useful questions about the scope and content of this section.
Possible future improvements
In addition to the refinement of the description of each form, much more effort is required to determine under what conditions any particular form is appropriate or inappropriate. This would then enable cross-references to be inserted linking forms together into patterns of complementary forms that could prove more effective than present reliance on a limited number of unrelated forms.
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