Qualitative and mixed methods research for social program evaluation
Sociología IV Universidad Complutense de Madrid Madrid, Spain
The impact evaluation of a social plan often requires the combination of both quantitative and qualitative techniques. In this cases is crucial to innovate through a mixed-method approach based on an ad hoc design. Better and more comprehensive impact evaluation designs can arise in the near future from the lessons learned from evaluation practice.
Techniques such as surveys, focal groups and in-depth interviews should be taken into account, considering the different ways in which this combination could take place. The design of the study (in this type of evaluation research) is inherently flexible and analysis should address specifically and with extreme caution the interrelation between the two types of data.
The main lessons learned in mixed methods evaluation research include the correct use of focal groups and in-depth interviews when working with marginalized and non marginalized communities; the different ways of measuring empowerment strategies; the reflection on the consistency of interpretations across different actors (NGOs, participants, political authorities, evaluation experts); and the importance of being aware of design limitations and method biases in order to improve the quality of evaluation research.