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Rural Health Information Hub

Evaluation of Quantitative and Qualitative Data Sources

Reliable program evaluation is largely dependent upon quality data. Evaluating a rural aging in place program may require multiple types of data, namely quantitative data and qualitative data. Quantitative data includes specific measurements and outcomes gathered from surveys, claims data, cost reports, and other numeric measures. Qualitative data may be gathered from interviews and focus groups of program participants and supportive agencies and individuals. Examples of specific types of data collection techniques:

  • Surveys and questionnaires can be used to collect information on an older adult's aging in place experience. These can be conducted in person or by phone, mail, or online. They might include closed-ended and open-ended questions.
  • Focus groups and interviews allow individuals to describe their aging in place experience and any challenges they may have encountered with the aging in place program.
  • Observation of an older adult within their home or community setting can be used to describe what is already working well and what is not. A trained evaluator could observe the older adult in the aging in place program to pinpoint difficulties that older adults may have within their own homes, accessing a healthcare facility, using transportation services, or engaging with their community.
  • Electronic health record data and/or provider data can be used to track an increase in telehealth or home health or other care services. They can also be used to document changes in health status of adults aging in place.

Resources to Learn More

Assessing Community Needs and Resources
Toolkit that provides guidance for conducting assessments of community needs and resources. Provides specific resources for collecting information, conducting interviews and surveys, and qualitative methods to assess community issues.
Organization(s): Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas

Data Collection & Analysis Tools
Informational briefs on different data collection methods and data analysis.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Developing Indicators for Evaluation of Age-friendly Communities in Canada: Process and Results
Discusses how age-friendly community initiatives can help communities evaluate age-friendly initiatives. Table 3 provides a final list of indicators and potential measures.
Author(s): Orpana, H. Chawla, M., Gallagher, E., & Escaravage, E.
Date: 10/2016