Best of AEA365: Approaching Document Review in a Systematic Way by Linda Cabral
Greetings AEA365 readers. I’m Linda Cabral from the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Health Policy and Research. Many evaluations that I’ve been a part of in my 15+ year career have required a review of existing program documents. This has involved a range of documents such as program descriptions, meeting minutes, proposals and grantee reports. There can be many purposes to performing a document review. Often, it can provide you the background necessary to formulate your primary data collection tools. Other times, document review can be your sole data collection method when your evaluation only requires descriptive information such as number and type of sites or a description of participants and program costs. Funders appreciate this data collection method because it does not pose a burden to program staff as the data already exists. Regardless of the main purpose of your document review, I’ve found it helpful to be able to approach this type of review in a systematic way.