Evaluations of PAS interventions and PAS programs have employed a variety of data collection methods. Choice of method is influenced by several factors, including the type of evaluation, type of PAS offered, type of respondent (e.g., program staff or adoptive family), type of case management system (e.g., paper or computerized), evaluation goals, and level of evaluation funding. For example, an evaluation of a support group for adoptive parents might use focus groups with members of the group. A linked computerized case management system could allow for analysis of aggregate data on child and family characteristics, service usage, and case outcomes entered by caseworkers. If ensuring high-quality service delivery is a primary goal, conducting a client satisfaction survey might be an appropriate method. If funding allows, an evaluator could conduct an outcome evaluation using clinical assessments and even a comparison group. Among evaluations reviewed, some general patterns were observed:
- Needs assessments and client satisfaction most often relied on surveys;
- Descriptions of children and families served and services provided use program records, either paper or electronic; and
- Outcome evaluations used diverse methods, including clinical instruments, and assessments by both workers and parents.