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Evaluation Data Sources

Successful evaluations rely on the collection of data and the use of reliable analysis methods. Evaluation plans should illustrate how, where, and from what sources data will be collected. Quantitative (numeric) and qualitative (narrative or contextual) data should be collected within a framework that aligns with stakeholder expectations, project timelines, and program objectives. For an overview of different types of data sources, see Collect and Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Data in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Services integration programs leaders may use a range of different data sources, including:

  • Surveys and questionnaires: Surveys and questionnaires use open- and close-ended questions to gather data from program clients, patients, providers, or stakeholders. Rural services integration programs are conducting regular surveys with families receiving services and other key stakeholders and partner organizations. Some programs are also conducting satisfaction surveys with patients as well as referring agencies to evaluate the value of the program.
  • Focus groups and interviews: Focus groups and interviews collect information around specific themes or issues related to the evaluation. Focus groups also allow for collecting observational information. Rural services integration programs are conducting focus groups with members of the public to determine if there are additional services or needs in the community that should be considered by the program.
  • Observations: Gathers direct information about ongoing program events or stakeholder behaviors using standardized procedures. Provides specific information about the fit of the program for clients, patients, and stakeholders.
  • Documents: Program leaders may review a range of program documents such as outreach logs, electronic health record data, administrative data, and other information to assess and understand the program's processes and outcomes.