Evaluation and strategy are well established terms in any setting that has a purpose and a goal. To me, it’s not much different than the nursing process that has guided my practice in all settings for the past 20 years.
Health related service and program evaluation involves collecting, analyzing information about the effectiveness and efficiency of programs as well as finding areas for improvement. The assessment phase of the nursing process includes determining the needs and strengths of a program or service.
As a nurse, I am most interested in the perspectives of those using services and participating in programs. I want to know the meanings underlying the experiences with programs and the reasons for seeking a service.
Strategic planning starts with setting goals based on the information gained during program evaluation (or an in depth evaluation of an idea for a program or service). From there decisions can be made for allocating resources toward achieving the goals. Actions are then...
A focus group is a qualitative research method where a group of individuals with common interests or characteristics are assembled to participate in a guided discussion about a particular topic.
Focus groups provide insights about people’s beliefs, opinions, perceptions or values through discussions in a nurturing environment where different ideas and points of view are encouraged. These insights can extend beyond what people believe, think and value to why and how they were established.
A focus group can be an enriching experience for participants as they learn from and share with each other, exchange ideas and build on the views of each other. Group discussions can generate new ideas and empower participants to have a voice on issues that are meaningful to them.
Focus groups are conducted to guide the planning or design of programs, services or products or to improve existing programs in a way that aligns with the unique needs of a particular group. It’s a way to partner with people and...
Participatory Action Research (PAR), sometimes called Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a wonderful approach to expanding knowledge toward improving community health.
When researchers and community stakeholders form partnerships to explore and address priority issues that matter most, as articulated by those who are directly affected. This is an action-based approach to change.
In any community, everyone is a stakeholder.
Health organizations, schools, local financial institutions and small business need to be thriving in order to provide the services or products that are being offered to the community in addition to promote the health and wellbeing of individuals within the organization.
People within every organization are also part of the community supporting institutions and businesses. Individuals need to be thriving enough to support community resources around them.
None of this can happen in isolation. Community members are the experts on what their community knows, un...
Ethnography is a form of qualitative research that studies people and explores cultural phenomena. Culture is what distinguishes one group from another and includes attitudes, customs, beliefs and norms. Most of us are familiar with regional cultures that distinguish nationalities and groups within countries and geographic locations, but cultures also vary among families, organizations and their departments, professions an any other organized group.
Ethnography observes groups and societies from the point of view of its members. The results of an ethnographic study reflect the knowledge and system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group. Data collection also includes information about the history and analysis of the group, physical surroundings and the environment.
Ethnographic studies are detailed and complex recording observed patterns of behaviors, ideas, beliefs, activities, language and other expressions of communication. The purpose of this type of study is to make a significa...
Qualitative research is a flexible approach to gaining a deep understanding of a topic, issue or event specific to a particular organization or group. It aims to provide explanation of the structure, order, patterns and unique attributes of groups of individuals as articulated by them.
Topics could include specific health conditions and they related to people’s beliefs, values, perceptions and behaviors. Diabetes is more than blood sugar, medications and a recommended diet. Positive health outcomes for people living with diabetes is reflected by the patient experience with care.
Issues could include a community substance abuse epidemic. Organizations such as law enforcement, treatment facilities and rehabilitation programs must have an understanding of the lived experience of addiction in order to develop and implement sustainable interventions.
Groups could include people with any common characteristic. Students, employees in a particular business, mothers, people living in poverty or th...