Outcome-Based Evaluation Data Collection
Guiding Principle 6: Choose your data sets very carefully, because data collection is neither easy nor inexpensive.
Measure at the level of functional impairment and its amelioration, rather than at the level of the pathology or limitation.
Group many separate measures into a smaller number.
Group many categorical items (such as diagnoses) into a smaller number of groups according to an index of similarity (e.g., all persons with mental retardation).
Convert items with market prices to dollar values (e.g., wages) rather than leaving them in terms such as number of treatments.
Reduce several nonmonetary outcome measures into a single composite index of effectiveness using judgmental techniques (e.g., enhanced quality of life).
The process of data collection cannot be separated from the other processes involved in outcome-based evaluation, including knowing how to store and retrieve data, and what evaluation designs and data analyses to use. For example, whereas Chapter 6 discusses data collection, Chapter 7 includes the actual formats whereby data are collected. The formats are included in Chapter 7 because of the interface of actual data collection and data management. Chapter 8 then discusses how those data can be analyzed, based on the evaluation design that you have used. The discerning reader will note that logically, an evaluation design precedes data collection, because the evaluation design selected is the one that will best test your hypothesis or answer your evaluation question. However, I feel that evaluation designs go best in Chapter 8 because of the close connection between evaluation designs and data analysis.
The interrelationship among these processes is shown clearly in Figure 6.1. Note in the figure that the process begins with the questions asked and ends with outcome-based evaluation analyses. I will refer to this figure repeatedly throughout the remainder of the text.
This chapter contains six sections dealing with the interrogatories of data collection. Four sections deal with collecting information about the four core data sets (recipient characteristics, core-service functions, cost estimates, and person-referenced outcomes). The remaining two sections discuss a conceptual approach to measurement and a number of guidelines regarding data collection.
KeywordsMental Retardation Cost Estimate Average Cost Role Status Adaptive Skill
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