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Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Small Area Analysis
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas What do we mean by small area analysis? Small area analysis is an assessment procedure that focuses on small specific geographic areas or populations in order to point up disparities or differences among them and between them and a larger statistical pattern. It is usually important to involve the community in conducting small area analysis.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Why conduct small area analysis? Small area analysis can identify disparities in health and services. It can show you issues you wouldn’t otherwise see. It helps you decide where to allocate resources. Small area analysis clarifies what problems, issues, and assets exist where. It can show what kind of effort is likely to be most effective in a particular place or with a particular population. Small area analysis can help to identify causes or contributing factors to a condition.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas When should you conduct small area analysis? When small areas are what you’re responsible for. When you have to allocate limited resources among a large number of areas. When statistics don’t add up. When you’re trying to pinpoint sources or causes of conditions.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Who should be involved in conducting small area analysis? Community participation in small area analysis might require help from some of these and others: Citizens concerned with or affected by conditions that create disparities among groups in different areas or with different characteristics. Public health agencies, officials, and coalitions. Other public agencies that provide services (e.g., welfare, children’s services ). NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and community-based human service organizations. Community activists. Police and fire departments. Hospitals, clinics, and health professionals. Community developers. Community and regional planners. Municipal service departments, such as water, sewer, traffic, and public works. Foresters, wildlife biologists, and others concerned with the natural environment and unbuilt areas.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you conduct small area analysis? Encourage community involvement. Enlist key informants, community leaders, and others to help assemble a representative group to participate in initiating, planning, and implementing small area analysis. Identify the outcomes you hope will result from small area analysis. Some possibilities: Find and eliminate disparities among areas or populations. Address issues in places or among populations where they are most serious. Identify the potential environmental or social factors that may be responsible for the disparities or conditions you’re concerned with, and plan how your effort will address them. Figure out how to most effectively allocate resources in order to have the greatest impact.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you conduct small area analysis? Define the small areas you’ll examine City or town City neighborhood City block Public housing complex or other specific housing development Haitian immigrants People with a particular health condition Public health or other government agency service area Service area of a hospital, human service organization, etc. County Rural village or group of villages Favela or similar unincorporated living area Particular ethnic, racial, or cultural group School district Water district
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you conduct small area analysis? Choose the information you’ll look for, including: Demographics Environmental factors that might contribute to disparities Social determinants related to disparities Context Decide where you’ll seek information. The census Organizational and institutional files Municipal records State and federal government agency files Direct, hands-on information gathering
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you conduct small area analysis? Determine how you’ll analyze the information. Consider the timeliness of the information. Consider the quality of the information. Consider the geographic and demographic areas the information describes. Ask yourself questions that will help to identify and explain differences among small areas and between them and the larger community or statistical area. Are there disparities between small and larger areas? Are there disparities among small areas? Are there disparities within small areas? Are there factors in the physical environment that might contribute to or explain differences? Are there social, political, and/or economic factors (social determinants of health or SDOH) that might contribute to or explain differences? Are there cultural differences among the residents of small areas that contribute to the differences? Are there trends that show the issue increasing or decreasing in particular small areas or among particular population groups? Are numbers dependent on when measurements were taken? Do you know something the numbers don’t?
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you conduct small area analysis? Evaluate your small area analysis effort. Start evaluation at the beginning of the effort. Develop questions to be answered by the evaluation, and then structure the evaluation so that it will answer them. Encourage community participation in structuring and carrying out the evaluation. Use both quantitative and qualitative (based on non-quantitative measures of change by those implementing and experiencing it – anecdotes, observations, changes in related conditions, etc.) methods of evaluating your effort. Use evaluation results to inform the process, methods, and implementation of your effort.
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