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Data Collection Methods

Program planners will need to select the appropriate data sources to address their evaluation goals and questions. More information about data collection can be found in the Rural Community Health Toolkit section, Collect and Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Data. Tobacco prevention and control program leaders may use a range of different data sources, including:

  • Surveys and questionnaires: Rural tobacco prevention and control program staff conduct surveys with individuals receiving services and other key stakeholders and partner organizations. Some programs also conduct satisfaction surveys with patients as well as referring agencies to evaluate the value of the program. The Tobacco Control Evaluation Center at the University of California, Davis offers a sample tobacco survey for researchers.
  • Focus groups and interviews: Rural tobacco prevention and control programs may conduct focus groups with members of the public to identify needs in a community or discuss satisfaction with a program. The Tobacco Control Evaluation Center at the University of California, Davis offers sample interview questions for evaluation researchers.
  • Observations: Rural program planners may use observation methods to record behaviors, situations, and events related to tobacco. For example, one rural tobacco program used observation techniques to assess the number of community members smoking in a park before and after the enactment of a tobacco-free park ordinance.
  • Documents: Program leaders may review program data, electronic health record data, administrative data, and other information to understand the outcomes of the tobacco program.
  • Policies: Program planners may choose to track tobacco-related policies that are enacted or in development throughout the course of the program.