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PH 205/PHW 205: Library Resources for Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation: Statistical Information

PH 205: Program Planning, Development, and Evaluation. Tips & Tools to Help You

Know Your Community: Statistical Information

What to consider when looking at survey or estimated data:

Adopted from information on the UCSF Family Health Outcomes Project web site

  • Look at sample sizes and survey response rates - representative of your population? Enough responses to be valid?
  • Who was surveyed? - representative of population being compared to? Include group you are interested in?
  • Were the survey respondants from heterogeneous groups? Do the survey questions have a similar meaning to members of different groups?
  • How was survey conducted? Via telephone? - Many people only have cell phones. Random selection or targeted group?
  • What assumptions and methods were used for extrapolating the data?
  • Look at definitions of characteristics - Does this match your own definitions?
  • When was the data collected?
Reliability and validity:

  Reliable data collection: relatively free from "measurement error."
  Is the survey written at a reading level too high for the people completing it?
  If I measure something today, then measure it again tomorrow using the same scale, will it vary? Why?

  Validity refers to how well a measure assesses what it claims to measure
  If the survey is supposed to measure "quality of life," how is that concept defined? Is it measurable?

Extensive discussions of reliability and validity are available in several texts, such as Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology (3rd Ed.; M. Tsuang et al. Wiley. 2011; See chapters 5 and 7).

US Census


US Department of Labor

Other US Sources

State & Local Statistics (US)

Always Remember . . .

Where Vegetarianism Is Booming Worldwide


Asthma Diagnosis in Bay Area Kids

Hospitalizations for Mental Health Issues, ages 5-19

High School Students Who Did Not Get 8 + Hours Of Sleep (USA)



Additional Resources: The Library's Guide to Health Statistics & Data