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Data Collection Strategies

Evaluating diabetes prevention and management programs involves gathering appropriate data. Diabetes programs will collect different types of data and may use a range of data collection strategies. The types of data that will be collected and how they will be collected depend on the specific evaluation questions being addressed and the type of evaluation being conducted. Most evaluations will draw on both qualitative and quantitative data sources. Using a mixed-methods approach can provide the most comprehensive information to answer specific evaluation questions.

Data collection strategies also differ depending on the stage of program development or implementation. Process evaluations, for example, consider how the diabetes program is being implemented. Data collection for process evaluations may focus on tracking attendance of participants, involvement of staff and partners, implementation of program activities, or reach and appropriateness of program materials. The types of information gathered for process evaluations may include data about individual program participants and their opinions and satisfaction with the program, staff perceptions of program implementation, and program participation.

Outcome evaluations, which assess the effects of the diabetes program, require different data. Data collection for outcome evaluations may focus on tracking changes in participants' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The types of information gathered for outcome evaluations may include quantitative (numeric) data or qualitative (descriptive) data. Examples of quantitative data collection strategies include extracting data from existing sources, such as electronic health records or other clinical data, as well as conducting surveys or questionnaires, which can be administered by telephone, mail, or internet. Examples of qualitative data collection strategies include interviews, focus groups, and open-ended survey questions. Observational data, which uses standardized procedures to record behaviors, situations, and events, and can be quantitative or qualitative.

Resources to Learn More

Diabetes Initiative: Resources - Assessment Materials, Forms & Instruments
Website
Offers a variety of resources for use in clinical and community-based diabetes programs including patient documentation and assessment forms, program enrollment and evaluation tools, and staff assessment survey instruments.
Organization(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Date: 2009

Research and Evaluation Tools
Website
Provides links to assessment tools in English, Spanish, and French that can be used free-of-charge for program evaluation needs. Includes diabetes-specific scales for obtaining data from program patients.
Organization(s): Self-Management Resource Center

Road to Health Toolkit Evaluation Guide
Document
Provides evaluation guidance for community health workers (CHWs) implementing the Road to Health Toolkit, an outreach program to help people prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Offers examples as aids in assessing program process and outcomes.
Organization(s): National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Date: 02/2012