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April 2009Vol. 10, No. 3Using Qualitative Research in Prevention Program Evaluation

Good qualitative research can greatly enhance evaluation efforts for prevention programs. While quantitative research may provide the core of an evaluation, qualitative research offers explanations about why and how the specific quantitative results were found.

A new resource from the FRIENDS National Resource Center (NRC) for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention offers guidance to prevention programs in using qualitative research to supplement and complement standard quantitative evaluations. Using Qualitative Data in Program Evaluation: Telling the Story of a Prevention Program describes the characteristics and benefits of using qualitative data, offers guidance on implementing a qualitative research effort, and illustrates the use of such research with a fictional, community-based, prevention program.

The report shows how the fictional prevention program draws on qualitative research to answer such questions as:

  • How does the program fit with the demands of daily life experienced by participating families?
  • How do families feel about the home visits and parenting classes?
  • Are families getting the right services in the right ways?
  • How do staff feel about their roles as home visitors, and what training or resources do they need?

Focusing on answering these questions, the report illustrates ways to collect, analyze, share, and report qualitative data.

To read the full report, visit the FRIENDS NRC website: (470 KB)