Finding Information in Numbers and Words: Data Analysis for Health Information Outreach

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Primary contact information...
NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center
Health Sciences Library
University of Washington Box 357155
Seattle WA , 98195-7155
United States
Susan Barnes is the primary contact.
Phone: 206-221-7425
Fax: 206-543-2469
Resource URL:
Region: Pacific Northwest

Description: The goal of this course is to improve librarians and others’ ability to compile and analyze qualitative and quantitative evaluation data about health information outreach programs. For numeric (quantitative) data, participants will learn to use descriptive statistics and graphs to make sense of their data. For text-based (qualitative) methods, participants will learn to organize and code text-based data, then analyze it. Topics will also include interpreting and exploring the validity of evaluation findings and using them to make improvements and decisions about health outreach programs. Discussion, presentations, and exercises will cover compiling and analyzing evaluation data. **This course was evaluated at MLA '10 and scored an overall course grade of 3.78 on a 4.0 scale. The mean score for all evaluated courses taught at MLA ’10 was 3.744 on a 4.0 scale. This course was evaluated at MLA '11 and scored an overall course grade of 3.64 on a 4.0 scale. The mean score for all evaluated courses taught at MLA ’11 was 3.63 on a 4.0 scale.

Experience Level: Beginning
Continuing Education Experience: None
CE Contact Hours: 4
Professional Competencies: Research + Analysis and Interpretation
Subject: Assessment/Evaluation, Consumer Health
Course Type: Face to Face, e-Learning, RML Offerings - Classroom learning w/ breakouts

Educational Objective: By the end of the session, participants will be able to •Code text-based (qualitative) data, summarize findings, and use the findings to make improvements or decisions about health outreach programs. •Graph quantitative data to develop visual pictures of findings •Summarize numerical (quantitative) data using frequencies, percentages, means, medians, and modes •Interpret findings and use them to make improvements and decisions about health outreach programs.


Data Analysis for Health Information Outreach
(4 hours)


1.Introduction – The Logic of Evaluation (30 minutes)

Exercise teaching participants about the logic of evaluation and how objectives are used to frame analysis of data. The exercise involved some independent work and large group discussion 
Instructor : Susan Barnes

2.Analyzing Quantitative Data (45 minutes)

A brief lecture about descriptive statistics and charting summary data, followed by a large group discussion in which participants determine the descriptive statistics to use to summarize data from a sample questionnaire.
Instructor : Susan Barnes

3.Break (15 minutes)

4.Analyzing Qualitative Data (60 minutes)

A brief lecture on the process of analyzing qualitative data, followed by an exercise (independent work followed by work with a partner) in which participants learn to develop categories for sample qualitative data and testing the trustworthiness of their analysis through an inter-rater reliability process. A discussion of checking the validity of findings will be included in this section.
Instructor : Cindy Olney

5.Making Sense of the Data – putting it all together (60 minutes)

Participants will receive mock data from fictional health information outreach project in the form of tables of summary statistics and charts.  They will be provided with the project’s objectives and asked to use the summary data along with the qualitative data from the previous exercise to report on the success of their program and identify important program decisions.
Instructor : Susan Barnes and Cindy Olney 

6.Wrap up and evaluation (15 minutes)

The session will end with a wrap-up of main points and participants’ completion of class evaluations

Need for This Course: The NN/LM established the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center with a goal of increasing the use of evaluation in the network to develop community-responsive outreach projects and demonstrate to partners and stakeholders that their efforts have made a difference. This workshop is one of four that have been designed to meet the OERC’s mission of providing training and consultation in evaluation of health information programs. This workshop has been designed in accordance with a trend in the field of evaluation called evaluation capacity building, which emphasizes evaluation strategies that keep program implementers and stakeholders centrally involved in the evaluation process by training them to evaluate their own programs: they learn to identify the type of data they need to make important decisions, collect data that is credible and useful to them, and learn to apply it in making important program decisions.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Slides, Discussion, and Other.

Participant Materials: •PowerPoint slide handouts •Worksheets for class exercises (see Appendices D and E ) •Informational handout about “story techniques” (see Appendix F) •A copy of the OERC’s “Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects” booklets by Olney and Barnes (Seattle, Washington: National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region, 2006). Not in this application packet but available online at

Facility Requirements: This workshop requires a room with seating arrangements that will allow participants to face forward for lecture, but re-arrange chairs and tables for small group work. Instructors need a computer/projector set-up for PowerPoint slides. A whiteboard or flipchart with tape and pens are also needed.

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