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Rural Health Information Hub

Data Collection Strategies

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 community partners, 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.

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

Resources to Learn More

Improving Data Collection across the Health Care System
Discusses strategies for improving data collection systems within hospitals, community health centers, physician and group practices, and health plans, along with the associated challenges. Covers the value of health surveys, enrollment, billing and medical records, and trained staff for data capture.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Date: 5/2018

Evidence Based Practice & Policy Online Resource Training Center: Measurement Tools
Provides an annotated list of evidence-based practice and policy indicators, assessment tools, and screenings for a variety of health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
Organization(s): Columbia University School of Social Work