Defining your peers

What is a target group/population?

The term target group refers to the population groups, families, individuals or communities that share a common characteristic or set of characteristics which will be positively influenced by or will experience improved measures in their health as an outcome of a program or intervention.

When defining your target population, be specific. Although target groups are often seen as homogenous, there will be diversity within this specific population with varied needs. You should clearly identify your target group and gain an understanding of their current knowledge, attitudes, practices and experiences concerning the issue you are trying to address. This includes understanding the characteristics of your target group.  Characteristics may include age, gender, culture, geographic locality, interest and occupation, level of education, parity, sexuality, health status, specific needs and other relevant characteristics.

Careful target group analysis also assists you to set appropriate objectives.

Identifying the peer group

Once you have defined your target group, you need to be able to identify peers in relation to this group. To do this you need to define the attributes of a peer for this target group.


  • How does the target group define themselves?
  • Will you be able to recruit peers with these characteristics?
  • Which are the key characteristics you will focus on?
  • Would the target audience like to learn from ‘true peers’ or ‘near peers’? Peers will need to cover potential differences within the given peer group. Could you consider instead a mentoring relationship with an older ‘near peer’?
  • The target group knows who they best relate to – How will you draw in the target group?
  • How will you go about recruiting peers?