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Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Qualitative Methods to Assess Community Issues
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas What are qualitative methods of assessment? Qualitative methods of assessment are those whose results can’t be expressed in numbers.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Qualitative methods include: Individual and group interviews. Observation. Focus groups. Community meetings. Interpretation of records, transcripts, and other quantitative data.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas In order to make your qualitative results as reliable as possible: Report accurately and completely. Frame the right questions and direct them appropriately. Use qualitative methods specifically to obtain information you can’t get from quantitative methods. Use the method that can best help you answer the questions you’re asking. Sort out your own and others’ subjective feelings and comments from objective reality, and try to make sure that your findings are objective.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas Why use qualitative methods of assessment? They answer questions that quantitative measures can’t. They connect directly with the population and the community you’re concerned with. They can get at the underlying realities of the situation. They involve the population of interest, or the community at large, in helping to assess the issues and needs of the community. They often allow for a broader examination of the situation or the community than quantitative methods do. They allow for the human factor.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas When would you use qualitative methods of assessment? When what you need is qualitative, descriptive information. When you’re trying to understand the reasons and motivations for people’s behavior, or how they operate in particular situations. When you’re analyzing quantitative data. When you’re trying to develop suggestions and recommendations. When you want to involve the community in assessment as directly as possible. When you’re doing community-based participatory research (i.e., involving the community directly in planning and implementing assessment).
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you use qualitative methods of assessment? Decide what it is you want to know. Choose the method best suited to finding that information. Choose the people who will gather the information, and, if necessary, train them. Determine from whom and from where you need to gather the information. Gather the information.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas For interviews: Let the interviewee(s) choose the space. Dress for the comfort of the interviewee(s). Get permission beforehand to tape, photograph or videotape the interview. Record carefully the time, place, circumstances, and details of the interview. Think out and frame your questions carefully, and ask directly for the information you’re seeking.
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas For interviews (cont.): Ask open-ended questions. Probe. Don't cut people off too quickly. Confirm what you're told by checking with others to the extent that you can. In group interviews, facilitate by encouraging everyone to participate, preventing any one person from dominating, and keeping the focus on issues and opinions rather than personalities
Copyright © 2014 by The University of Kansas For observation: Think carefully about the questions you want your observation to answer. Determine where and whom to observe to answer these questions. Determine when and for how long observation should take place. Determine what you should observe and record Record your observations. Analyze the information. Make and carry out a plan to address the issue or problem you’ve identified.
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