When evaluating a program, there are numerous ways to collect data about its participation, impact, and success. A particularly powerful method that may be appropriate for program evaluation is qualitative field research. Qualitative field research allows the researcher to collect descriptive data about experiences directly from individuals in face-to-face settings. When evaluating such complex issues as human attitudes, behaviors, and opinions, qualitative research can provide in-depth information and rich insights that numerical data simply cannot provide.
This type of research is called qualitative field research because it is conducted in the environments in which experiences, such as program interventions, take place. Researchers collect detailed notes or transcriptions from observations, face-to-face interviewing, or focus group conversations.
In this Application, you consider how you might apply qualitative field research methods to needs assessments in human and social services.
Think back to the topic you selected for the Week 4 Discussion. Consider how you might evaluate a program for this topic using qualitative field research methods. Use the following questions to guide your thinking:
What specific field techniques would you use to reach this population?
Would you identify yourself as a researcher?
What logistical issues would you need to consider?
The Assignment (2–3 pages)
Explain how you would evaluate a program for your selected topic using qualitative field research methods. Be specific and provide examples. Assume the proposed actions you suggested last week have taken place.