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Health Policy and Management Fieldwork I: HPM 9289

course guide of readings and resources for assignments

Problem Definition / Statement

Defining/framing the problem and context

The resources on this guide are helpful for thinking through these questions:

  1. What is the real problem (cause) to be solved, and not the symptoms nor the proposed solution? Or is there an opportunity under consideration?
  2. Why is there a need for a solution or the information and analyses to make a decision? Use data and/or relevant policy-related information, if possible, to explain the need for the project.
  3. What is the magnitude and scope of the need, problem, or opportunity (tangible and intangible costs, data/statistics on persons, organizations or places affected or at risk, etc.)?
  4. Is the problem or challenges technical or adaptive or both?
  5. Who are the stakeholders?  Briefly, describe the key stakeholders. Who are potential supporters of your project? Who will be against it or will feel some loss? What are their power and influence on the success of your project?
  6. Describe the collaborative partnerships needed for the project to be successful. Explain whether partnerships have already been established and what partners bring to the project. If collaborative partnerships are not needed, explain why
  7. Who will benefit (beneficiaries)?  Summarize how the project will promote equity among vulnerable and/or underserved populations.
  8. What is the context?  Describe the political and socioeconomic contexts that the project will operate in and the related factors or determinants of equity that it will act upon.
  9. What decisions will be made or action taken, by whom, and who is involved in this process?

Equity, Ethics, and Culture

Course readings

Planning and Evaluation

Evaluation Types

Evaluation Types

Evaluations can take many forms and occur at different stage of a program, including: 

Before the program starts or at the start

  1. Needs assessment – Who needs what services or support? 
  2. Targeting assessment – Is the program reaching who it intended to reach? 


  1. Process Assessment/Evaluation - Is the program being implemented as it was planned? 
  2. Monitoring – Ongoing collection of data to track performance, process and/or outputs 
  3. Performance Measurement   
  4. Fiscal accountability – Are the implementing organizations stewarding the money properly? 

Mid-term/End of project

  1. Impact evaluation – Did the program “work”? Did it have its intended impact? 
  2. Cost-benefit, cost effectiveness – Was the program worth it? 

How it was done/Equity

  1. Participatory evaluation 
  2. Advocacy evaluation    

Learn more at Sage Research Methods Online


Prevention Institute: Tools



Some organizations are advocating for writing explicit equity and inclusion goals. For example, SMART(IE) goals, which adds I for Inclusion and E for Equity to the SMART goals.

Theory of Change and Logic Models

Theory of Change

Logic Models and Evaluation Frameworks

Design, Measurement, Methods, and Analysis

The first steps of a research project are to conceptualize and operationalize what will be studied, decide the units of analysis, the population of study, the sampling strategy, and the methods of data collection and analysis to be used. All these aspects are referred to as the "research design."  It is also important during the design phase to think about equity, data security, privacy and confidentiality and ethics. The following resources provide help with research design.

Quantitative Methods and Analysis

Qualitative Methods for Data Collection and Analysis

In ways that may be missed through using quantitative methods alone, qualitative methods can help you:

  • understand larger patterns, complex interactions, and important history and context related to your research questions
  • learn about how and why policies or programs were created, how people interpret and respond to policies
  • gain insights on why the implementation and outcomes of policies vary across contexts and about the mechanisms through which policies work
  • learn about crises and turning points for policies or programs, why decisions were made, local definitions of vulnerability and well-being, and power dynamics
  • learn how different people understand situations, challenges, and priorities in connection to policies and programs

Methods for collecting qualitative or non-numeric data include:

  • Documents and photos
  • Interviewing
  • Focus group discussion
  • Observation
  • Questionnaire with open-ended questions or multiple choices
  • Social media text mining
  • Archival and historical research