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Rural Health Information Hub

Data Collection Strategies

For detailed information on quantitative and qualitative data collection strategies, see Collect and Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Data in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Prior to identifying data collection strategies, it is important to develop the specific questions that the evaluation will address. Evaluation questions should be reasonable, answerable, and appropriate given the program’s process and outcomes. Well-defined evaluation questions consider the purpose of the evaluation, intended use of the results, the needs of stakeholders, and the real world circumstances that influence program success. Important contextual information for rural areas includes local beliefs and behaviors, system capabilities, and limitations regarding capacity, technology, and needed resources.

Both quantitative and qualitative data should be collected to answer the research questions. Types of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods include surveys and questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, and observations and progress tracking.

Resources to Learn More

Improving Data Collection across the Health Care System
Identifies steps toward improving data collection, and provides information on understanding opportunities and challenges within the context of current practice.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Date: 3/2010

Evidence Based Practice & Policy Online Resource Training Center: Measurement Tools
Includes various evidence-based practice and policy indicators for a variety of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Also provides links to assessment tools and screenings.
Organization(s): Columbia University School of Social Work