What are qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods in organizations ?
In their desire to perform effective program evaluation, organizations are free to choose between the two broad methodological categories: first, organizations can successfully utilize quantitative evaluation methods, which translate evaluation experience into transparent measurable elements that can be manipulated statistically (Anonymous, 2008a); second, qualitative evaluation approaches are expected to provide continuous feedback by means of interviews, field observation, or document review.
Despite the benefits which both methods offer, organizations believe that only reasonable and balanced integration of qualitative and quantitative evaluation techniques can provide organizations with objective, unbiased, and multifaceted evaluation results. Bearing in mind that “the strengths of one approach potentially complement the weaknesses of the other, and vice versa” (Rao & Woolcock, 2003), the combination of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods offers an optimal balance of evaluation instruments.
Quantitative methods are appropriate, when organizations require determining frequency or related measurable aspects of program development implementation. Quantitative methods help establish numerical baselines (Anonymous, 2008a). In distinction from quantitative approaches, qualitative evaluation is used, when organizations need to review the program from different perspectives or “identify approximate indicators that clients are moving in the right direction” (Anonymous, 2008a).
The major difference between the two methodologies lies in the presence (or lack) of measurability with regard to evaluation results. That is why the applicability and usability of either of the two evaluation techniques depends on the ultimate evaluation goals, as well as availability of qualitative or quantitative research data.
3. What information goes into the methods or program plan component of a proposal?
The methods component of a grant proposal usually comprises a set of activities, initiatives, or ideas, which organizations will use to achieve specified objectives and to satisfy the identified community needs. Beyond listing and describing the methods, organizations should ground and justify their choice by providing the funding organization with a good reason for choosing these (and not other) methods. “The section should also describe program staffing and identify the client populations to be served along with a justification of why they were selected” (Anonymous, 2008b).
It is easier to develop an effective methods component by answering a set of simple questions. These questions are to guide organizations in their striving to produce positive impression on the funding organization. Sample questions may include: “what activities do organizations need to carry to achieve strategic project objectives?”; “what is the timeline for these activities?”; “who will carry the responsibility for completing the specified activities in time?”, etc.
It is essential that organizations are reasonable and thorough in their choice of methods and activities: these methods should be realistic, and organizations must possess sufficient tangible and intangible resources to utilize the benefits of the proposed methods.
To prove that the chosen methodology is realistic and reasonable, organizations are recommended to provide the rationale for the chosen methods, as well as the detailed description of resources and facilities, which will be available for each method. The methods section should be as detailed as possible, to guarantee that the funding organization can evaluate the feasibility of proposed activities.
Anonymous. (2008a). Developing your methods.
Anonymous. (2008b). Preparing the evaluation component.
Edelman, I. (2000). Evaluation and community-based initiatives. Social Policy, Winter, pp.
McNamara, C. (2002). A basic guide to program evaluation. Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
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