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Chapter 5


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How to collect data

In addition to planning and selecting your evaluation design, you also need to figure out how to collect evaluation data. There are two main types of data: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative data is quantifiable and numerical and is particularly useful when trying to establish causality between an independent variable (program or activity) and dependent variable (food safety knowledge, attitudes, or behavior etc.) or if you want to obtain some sort of score or rating on a topic, such as a knowledge score. It is best to use quantitative methods when the subject topic is well researched and when you have a valid and reliable data collection tool. This method is usually considered to be more objective and less biased than qualitative methods. In addition, it can be easier to demonstrate the validity and reliability of quantitative data than with qualitative data.

Qualitative data is generally non-numerical and more exploratory in nature. It is used to identify important themes related to a particular topic and to gather detailed insight into more complex issues [11]. Qualitative data collection methods can provide valuable information about personal thoughts, experiences, feelings, and interpretations that can often be overlooked when using quantitative methods. It is a particularly good method to use when there is little is known about research topic.

Below are different data collection methods you could use to for your evaluation. Consider the benefits and limitations of each option in relation to your resources, the purpose of your evaluation, and your target audience.

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