In your discussions, include the following considerations:
- What is the purpose of an action plan?
- Why is an action plan needed with regards to policy implementation?
- What are the tasks, responsibilities, resources, and timelines considerations in an action plan, if any?
While designing a monitoring plan for your program or policy, if you discovered that different techniques for monitoring the implementation of the program or policy produced conflicting results, how would you reach an effective monitoring plan?
I would combine use of each of the four data collection methods; as any one method can overlook data that is relevant to the the success of the planned change. Of course, this means I need to allocate staff for observatonal and data collection purposes as part of my resource plan. This staff can also be used to provide monitoring feedback to stakeholders.
Consider that the observation data monitoring technique suggests that, on average, staff members spend 1 hour per week on teaching life-skills to clients as the program intended, but the service record data monitoring technique suggests that staff spends 15 minutes on average teaching life-skills to clients, against the program's intentions. What do you think could account for the discrepancy between different monitoring techniques?
If staff is overworked, or if staff does not understand the importance of record keeping in monitoring techniques, then staff may not spend the time necessary for accurate record keeping. Welsh and Harris note this second possibility; “This usually means more work for program or agency staff, on top of their service delivery duties”(2002, p.156). Welsh and Harris stipulate methods of mitigating these circumstances; ”Recording forms should be structured as checklists whenever possible to simplify usage by program staff” (2002, p.152)
Discussion Part II
Among the different observational data collection techniques—narrative, data, and structured rating scheme, which technique do you consider to be the strongest approach? Which technique do you think is the weakest? Explain your rationale.
I'll summarize Welsh and Harris's description of the three methods: in the “narrative method, an observer records events in detail, in the order in which they occur. This is very much like a diary” (2012, p. 151); in the “data guide method, the evaluator or change agent gives observers specific questions that they are required to answer from their observations” (2012, p. 151); and finally, the “structured rating scheme is the most constrained of the three observational methods. We can ask observers to rate some kind of behavior on a standardized scale or checklist” (2012, p. 151). I consider the narrative model to be the strongest, as long as the entries are detailed. By limiting input in the other two models, relevant data that may have been overlooked as relevant in the design stage can continue to be overlooked, whilein the narrative model, data collection analysts can note how it impacts the success of the planned change. The other two methods are equally weaker in comparison, but can be used in planned changes in which staff time for data collection is limited.
Is it advisable to combine two or more observational data collection techniques? Are there any advantages to combining techniques? Are there any disadvantages to combining techniques? Discuss.