Data Collection & Analysis

The article, The Power and the Promise, provides several factors to consider when planning for the data analysis component of a community-university research project, which will inform the data collection and analysis components of this proposed study (Cashman et. al., 2008).  Below is a model to represent one aspect of the data collection process which will be completed in the current proposal.

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(Buettgen, Richardson, Beckham, Richardson, Ward, & Riemer, 2012)

Data Collection

The Adoption Community Advisory Board research team devised the data collection and analysis agenda for the proposed Participatory Action Research (PAR) design.  Data collection will include both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Given the wide variability of research experience and knowledge among the members of the research team, the University-based researcher will provide a two-day training on data collection and analysis to include topics on survey and interview-guide development, focus group facilitation and co-facilitation, interviewing skills, and debriefing techniques.   All data collection efforts will adhere to Virginia Commonwealth University’s IRB standards of research compliance. Data collection will not be initiated before IRB approval is received.

Data collection will occur in stages over the course of a year.  Initially, the  facilitation of a focus group with all individuals recruited to participant in the study will be completed.  Informed consent and assent for participants under 18 years of age will be required of all individuals before participating in the focus group. The focus group will be held at a local community recreation center which has the capacity to accommodate up to 250 individuals. The focus group will be scheduled in the evening and childcare will be provided free of charge by members of the local Foster Parent Association. Research participants requiring transportation assistance will be provided a complementary bus pass to attend the focus group. The aim of focus group discussion will be on examining current gaps and barriers in post-adoption services within the community. As well as to identify emerging issues the research team considers significant for future empirical examination. All members of the research team will attend and actively participate in the data collection process and serve in the roles of moderator, co-facilitators or observers during the focus group. The presence of all members of the Adoption Advisory Board research team during the focus group contributes to a feeling of mutual understanding among all individuals, given the shared adoption experiences of both the research team and study participants. Therefore, increasing the likelihood of creating a forum of mutual engagement and open dialogue among all participants. The research team will develop and utilize a semi-structured interview guide to facilitate the focus group discussion process. Note cards will be utilized to document and record all handwritten notes of the focus group discussion. Following the conclusion of the focus group, all members of the research team will debrief to discuss and record observations and reflections from the focus group. Additionally, the focus group will be audio-recorded to allow for future review of the discussion by the research team if needed and ensures accuracy of the data collected. The University-based researcher will not attend the focus group, however will be available in the building for guidance and assistance. Finally, focus group participants who identify as a current or former adoptive parent will be invited to participate in an in-depth face-to- face interview that will be completed within 90 days following the focus group.

All members of the research team will serve in the role of interviewer to complete in-depth, face- to- face interviews with each consenting research participant. Interviews aim to explore parenting experiences of an adoptive parent and are expected to last 1-2 hours. The interview will be completed at a mutually agreed upon location between interviewer and participant that is conducive to maintaining privacy and confidentiality.

Six months after the initiation of the community study, quantitative data collection will be achieved through an online REDCAP survey developed by the research team. The research team will contact the school board, local child welfare agency, and community mental health agency to acquire agency staff and administrators’ email contact information.   The aim of the survey will be to explore current adoption competent community resources to inform the development and coordination of preventative services responsive to the expressed needs of adoptive families.

Data Analysis

All data including audio recordings, hand written notes, interview guides, and surveys will be stored in a locked cabinet located in the university researcher’s personal office to ensure confidential safe keeping.  Data analysis will occur in stages over the course of the research project. All members of the research team will be actively engaged throughout data analysis providing insight and interpretation of findings through weekly face- to- face data analysis meetings. Coding and thematic analysis will be completed by hand on all qualitative data collected. This iterative and reflective group process will occur over several months. The research team recommends the University-based researcher complete quantitative data analysis using statistical software. Furthermore, discussion and interpretation of quantitative findings will be completed through scheduled face-to-face research team meetings. The University-based researcher will prepare and write up a report of all findings that the research team will review to provide feedback on.  Dissemination of findings will occur following group consensus and approval of the final draft.








Buettgen, A., Richardson, J., Beckham, K., Richardson, K., Ward, M., & Riemer, M.  (2012).  We did it together:  a participatory action research study on poverty and disability.  Disability & Society, 27(5), 603-616.

Cashman, S., Adeky, S., Allen, A., Corburn, J., Israel, B., Montaño, J., . . . Eng, E. (2008). The power and the promise: Working with communities to analyze data, interpret findings, and get to outcomes. American Journal of Public Health, 98(8), 1407-17.

This post is a part of my ongoing participation in Collaborative Curiosity – an online course in community-engaged research sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University. The course is FREE and open to anyone. You can join us on Twitter with #CuriousCoLab. You can follow me on Twitter @BreunBelcherSW

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