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Data Collection Strategies

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Data Collection Strategies

This topic teaches students about the key strategies for collecting recent, reliable and informative data for use in policy and program evaluations. Students learn about different data collection methods, and the opportunities and pitfalls associated with them. Students are also instructed about how to plan for data collection and about different types of data collection methods that can be used including quantitative, participatory and mixed methods.

Topic Learning Outcome: Students will have a detailed knowledge of the challenges associated with collecting recent, reliable and informative data for both policy research and program evaluation. Students will understand the opportunities and risks associated with different methods and will be able to apply this knowledge, by being able to offer sophisticated, informed analysis and opinions about the utility of particular data collection methods in specific real-world situations.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Case Studies; Elite Interviews; Literature Review.

Recommended Reading

Carleton University: PADM 5420 Policy and Program Evaluation

Mertens, Donna M., and Wilson, Amy T., Program Evaluation Theory and Practice: A Comprehensive Guide. New York: The Guilford Press, 2012. Chapter 10. 

Wholey, Joseph S., Harry Hatry, Kathryn Newcomer. Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation, 2nd Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Chapter 14 (11-13 and 15-18 optional).


Sample Assessment Questions:

1.) What are case studies? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of case studies as a tool for gathering information about the effectiveness of specific policy choices? Discuss in a short 2-3 page paper.

Page created by Matthew Seddon on 30 June 2013; updated by Sean Goertzen and Ben Eisen 21 May 2015.


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School of Public Policy and Governance