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The Evaluator's Institute: Qualitative Methods Course

Qualitative Evaluation Methods (2-day course, March 13-14)
Instructor: Michael Quinn Patton, PhD
Category: Evaluation Theory, Design and Methods

Description: Qualitative inquiries use in-depth interviews, focus groups, observational methods, document analysis, and case studies to provide rich descriptions of people, programs, and community processes. To be credible and useful, the unique sampling, design, and analysis approaches of qualitative methods must be understood and used. Qualitative data can be used for various purposes including evaluating individualized outcomes, capturing program processes, exploring a new area of interest (e.g., to identify the unknown variables one might want to measure in greater depth/breadth), identifying unanticipated consequences, and side effects, supporting participatory evaluations, assessing quality, and humanizing evaluations by portraying the people and stories behind the numbers. This class will cover the basics of qualitative evaluation, including design, case selection (purposeful sampling), data collection techniques, and beginning analysis. Ways of increasing the rigor and credibility of qualitative evaluations will be examined. Mixed methods approaches will be included. Alternative qualitative strategies and new, innovative directions will complete the course. The strengths and weaknesses of various qualitative methods will be identified. Exercises will provide experience in applying qualitative methods and analysis in evaluations. Individuals enrolled in this class will each receive one copy of Dr. Patton’s text: Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, (Sage, 2015, 4th Edition).

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