Using Data in Public Health Programs

Program effectiveness is difficult to prove, even when ample quantitative and qualitative data are available. Just because information is easy to count or describe does not mean that it provides insight. For example, a health promotion program that seeks to teach adults in a community to eat fewer fatty foods in order to avoid heart disease. A report about how many heart attacks occurred in the community might provide some insight on overall cardiac health, but there is no way to collect data on the number of heart attacks that did  not happen as a result of the program. Moreover, the number of heart attacks alone will not be a relevant data point without being linked to fatty food consumption. However, it may be helpful to look at trends in eating habits as well as trends in heart disease and heart attacks over a 10-year period.

As a public health professional, you may be asked to determine what needs to be evaluated (what is being measured) and why, and what data will yield relevant information. For this week’s Discussion, you will practice planning data collection for effective evaluation using a scenario before collecting data for your own programs.

Select one of the following four hypothetical public health programs. Consider the methods and data points that would be the most appropriate in order to evaluate its effectiveness.

Scenarios:

Post the number of the scenario you selected (make sure to include the number of your chosen scenario in the subject line). Describe three types of quantitative and three types of qualitative data you want to collect about the public health program you chose, and explain why you would collect each. Then, explain one quantitative and one qualitative method that might be most appropriate to evaluate the program and why

Answers

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