TB Behavioral Science Resources

Tools and resources for TB public health professionals, academics, and others engaged or interested in TB behavioral science research.

Introduction to TB Behavioral Science

What is behavioral science?

  • The scientific and evidence-based study of human decision-making and behavior. 
  • Examines how people behave and interact within their context, make decisions, and respond to programs and policies.
  • Seeks to understand how human behavior affects health outcomes.
  • Impacts public health by enhancing the quality and comprehensiveness of public health interventions.
  • Learn more about getting started with behavioral science research with the UN Practitioner's Guide to Getting Started with Behavioural Science.

Understanding TB Behavioral Science Research

Behavioral science research seeks to build the evidence base in TB prevention. Goals may include:

  • Identifying, understanding, and addressing barriers and facilitators to the uptake of evidence-based clinical innovations and guidelines related to TB prevention.
  • Further understanding the behaviors of people who are at higher risk for latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease by identifying their:
    • perception of risk,
    • health seeking behaviors,
    • patient-provider interactions, and
    • adherence to treatment.

Examples of CDC Behavioral Science Activities That Contribute to TB Elimination

The Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) Communication, Education and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) engages in several behavioral science research activities.

Examples include:

DTBE convened the TB Behavioral and Social Science Research Forum: Planting the Seeds for Future Research in December 2003 in Atlanta, GA. The forum goals were to identify and prioritize TB behavioral and social science research needs and gaps. Read more about the TB Behavioral Science Research Forum Proceedings  [PDF - 140 pages].

In addition, DTBE funds research consortia and projects to advance TB elimination. Each effort has important behavioral social science components:

  • TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC)
    • Partners incorporate TB behavioral science research components into their interventions. For example: used key informant interviews and focus groups to assess participant knowledge of LTBI along the continuum of care.
  • TB Trials Consortium (TBTC)   
    • TBTC is exploring strategies for including behavioral science methodologies into the evaluation phase of TB clinical trials and sub-studies.
  • TB Centers of Excellence (COE) for Training, Education, and Medical Consultation
    • Partners provide jurisdictional education, training, and medical consultation to state and local TB programs. COE partners engage in behavioral science research to inform their communication, education, and training portfolio.
  • TB Elimination Alliance (TEA)
    • TEA provides mini-grants to local health departments and community-based organizations engaged in TB prevention and control activities. Partners use behavioral science methods in developing their needs assessments and evaluation plans for proposed interventions.

Behavioral Science Research Methods

Behavioral science research methods draw on interdisciplinary frameworks and different methodologies to address public health challenges related to TB prevention and management. When deciding which behavioral science research methods to employ, consider the following questions:

  • What are the aims of the research?
  • What methods would be most appropriate?

Quantitative Research Methods

  • Quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data. Researchers use quantitative methods to find patterns, test causal relationships, and generalize results to a larger population.
  • Learn more about quantitative research methods and when to use it:

Qualitative Research Methods

  • Qualitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing non-numerical data, to better understand perceptions and experiences. Qualitative data collection methods may include observation methods, interviews, focus groups, or open-ended survey questions.
  •  Learn more about qualitative research and when to use it:

After determining the research methods to employ, consider asking these questions during your study design:

  • What is already known on the topic?
  • What research question do you hope to address?
  • What data and methods you can use?
  • How do you plan to incorporate behavioral science research elements?

Behavioral science theories and frameworks can help guide and develop research projects. Learn more about different theories and their application.


Translating TB Research into Public Health Practice

  • Implementation science is the scientific study of methods to promote or improve the systematic uptake of evidence-based interventions. The overarching goal is to improve the intervention’s effect on health. 
  • TB elimination efforts benefit from integrating behavioral science research into public health intervention planning and design.
  • Examples include:
    • Help public health practitioners better understand health seeking behaviors related to TB testing and treatment.
    • Develop more robust message testing strategies.
    • Help patients better adhere to TB and LTBI treatment.
    • Improve messaging for TB prevention health communication campaigns.
    • Create effective TB education and training programs for public health staff.
Submit your TB-related behavioral science materials and resources.