Skip to main content

Evaluation Methods and Considerations

There are many methods appropriate for evaluating your rural oral health program. Common evaluation methods include primary and secondary data collection and analysis. Programs may collect primary qualitative data (descriptive) and quantitative data (numbers or values) through in-person interviews, surveys, and focus groups. In some instances, programs may use secondary analysis of existing data to understand how their population compares to populations at the local, state, and national levels. The evaluation methods that work best may differ for each program. Special considerations for evaluating rural oral health programs include:

  • Designing data collection instruments that are sensitive to the cultural practices and beliefs, language, and literacy level of the population.
  • Bearing in mind the mobility of the population, especially when collecting data from migrant farm workers or populations served by a mobile oral health program. It may be difficult to collect data from the same people over time.
  • Planning evaluation logistics, including the travel time and distance required to collect data, number of participating sites, and number of evaluation staff required.
  • Securing any needed approvals. Some evaluation approaches may involve collecting protected health information that can be linked to a specific individual. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides more information on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

For additional information regarding evaluation methods, see Collect and Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative data in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

CDC Evaluation Resources
The CDC offers links to other evaluation resources, including manuals, toolkits, websites, and professional associations.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A Framework for Program Evaluation
The CDC highlights a practical and non-prescriptive tool—the evaluation framework—which summarizes and organizes the steps and standards for effective program evaluation.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health Information Privacy
The Office for Civil Rights enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information; the HIPAA Security Rule, which sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information; and the confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule, which protect identifiable information being used to analyze patient safety events and improve patient safety.
Organization(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services