Extension has consistently used survey as a method for collecting information.

Survey collects information through structured questionnaires resulting in quantitative data.   Don Dillman wrote the book, Internet, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method .  Although mail and individual interviews were once the norm, internet survey software has changed that.

Other ways  are often more expedient, less costly, less resource intensive than survey. When needing to collect information, consider some of these other ways:

  • Case study
  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Group Assessment
  • Expert or peer review
  • Portfolio reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Tests
  • Photographs, slides, videos
  • Diaries, journals
  • Logs
  • Document analysis
  • Simulations
  • Stories
  • Unobtrusive measures

I’ll talk about these in later posts and provide resources for each of these.

When deciding what information collection method (or methods) to use, remember there are three primary sources of evaluation information. Those sources often dictate the methods of information collection. The Three sources are:

  1. Existing information
  2. People
  3. Pictorial records and observation

When using existing information, developing a systematic approach to LOOKING at the information source is what is important.

When gathering information from people, ASKING them is the approach to use–and how that asking is structured.

When using pictorial records and observations, determine what you are looking for before you collect information

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