Approaches to Evaluating Welfare Reform: Lessons from Five State Demonstrations. Chapter 5: Data Collection


This chapter addresses three questions concerning data collection in impact evaluations of welfare reform:

  1. What types of baseline data (predemonstration data) are needed on each case, and what are the best methods for collecting these data?
  2. What is the role of follow-up surveys in impact evaluations in which administrative data are available on many key outcomes? What issues should they address? What are appropriate sample sizes and follow-up periods?
  3. What are appropriate standards for quality surveys, in terms of survey administration, response rates, and maintaining sample over time in longitudinal surveys? How should state officials monitor the progress of surveys?

This chapter does not consider the appropriate data collection strategies for the analysis of program implementation or for other evaluation objectives. This focus should be kept in mind in reviewing the recommendations made.