An Overview of Mixed Methods in Program Evaluation
Using Mixed Methods Evaluation in Ethics and Management Program
Mixed methods program evaluation focuses on integrating the disciplines of social science with both qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection, theory, as well as data analysis. The major aim in utilizing MM is to reinforce the data validity and reliability as well as the findings. Further, the use of mixed methods works best at deepening and widening the comprehension of the processes through which the outcome and impact of programs are realized. In addition, they also aid in understanding the effect of the outcome within the context of the program implementation.
A good example where mixed methods design could be applied is on evaluation of how a program on school feeding affects the enrolment of students and their attendance level to lessons and class. In order to effectively evaluate this program, one needs to collect data regarding the number of schools, teachers, classes, students and families. The researcher has to collect both qualitative and quantitative data at each level and making a comparison of the data. The qualitative approaches will involve such activities as conducting interviews with teachers, students, families and other stakeholders, conducting focus group discussions as well as the use of observations. This is very important in comprehending the correlation between the divergent levels such as the interaction between teachers, school administrators and regional officials.
The benefits of utilizing mixed method design in program evaluations such as the school feeding program cannot be overemphasized. Specifically, the design is effective in ensuring that participants, interviewees and qualitative cases are selected in manner that can make generalization of the findings possible. Consequently, this reinforces the validity and credibility of the general findings generated after the evaluation. On the other hand, the use of quantitative approaches including the use of sample survey could be equally effectively in comparing the socio-economic features of a person or groups of persons who had been covered by the qualitative evaluation with the characteristics of the general populace.