The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4029.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Table 10

Abstract #60281

Defining a community for evaluation purposes

Carol-Ann Emmons, PhD and Carmelita Grady, PhD. Health Studies Department, NORC, 55 E. Monroe Street, Suite 4800, Chicago, IL 60603, (312)759-4022,

NORC, a national organization for research at the University of Chicago, collects evaluation data for CDC by conducting the REACH 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey annually in 21 communities. In this endeavor, we face the challenge of balancing the unique needs of each community with the strict requirements of a standardized survey. By partnering with each community’s local REACH 2010 coalition, we have gained community-specific knowledge and built local support for the research component.

The first part of the paper will focus on the challenges involved in defining a community for evaluation purposes. One of these is translating the communities’ way of defining itself into a definition that that lends itself to statistical sampling. A community is not always a geographic area, but might instead be a way of identifying oneself, for example, in terms of race or ethnicity. A second challenge is identifying an efficient approach to sampling that yields an unbiased sample of the population. A third is developing screening questions that allow survey respondents to correctly report whether or not they belong to the community. Specific examples from REACH 2010 communities will be presented. The second part of the paper will focus on working with communities to meet the challenges discussed in part one. They include the importance of the community’s self-definition, the need for continuing dialogue between the community and the evaluator, the building of trust between the community and the evaluator, the flexible implementation of research plans, and tailoring them to a particular community context.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Evaluation, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Community-Based Public Health: Round Tables for Better Research and Practice

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA