Qualitative Evaluation

Publication Date: January 20, 2021
This is the cover of qualitative evaluation

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  • Pages: 10
  • Published: 2021


Qualitative research, which explores how or why something occurs, can contribute new knowledge to the understanding of home visiting. While qualitative research is sometimes viewed as a less rigorous add-on to quantitative research, studies utilizing qualitative research methods—whether part of a mixed-methods or as a standalone approach—can be rigorously designed to provide reliable and trustworthy information.

This work is part of the Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation (DOHVE) project, led by OPRE in collaboration with HRSA. ACF has partnered with JBA to conduct the DOHVE project.


The purpose of this resource is to provide Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program awardees and their evaluators recommendations on how to implement strong qualitative evaluations and minimize bias throughout each stage of the evaluation.

Key Findings and Highlights

This brief—

  • Identifies advantages and challenges of qualitative approaches
  • Provides considerations for choosing a qualitative approach
  • Defines common methodological approaches
  • Identifies common qualitative data collection methods and sampling techniques
  • Provides strategies to minimize bias in qualitative data analysis
  • Addresses the importance of reporting findings that are trustworthy
  • Provides additional resources



Suggested citation: Atukpawu-Tipton, G., Higman, S., & Morrison, C. (2020). Qualitative evaluation (OPRE Report #2020-136). Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program:
administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families, the MIECHV Program was established in 2010 to support voluntary, evidence-based home visiting for at-risk pregnant women and parents with children up to kindergarten entry. The program provides grants to states, US territories, and tribes, which conduct needs assessments to identify eligible at-risk communities and serve priority populations.
Qualitative research:
focuses on an individual’s beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behaviors, and interactions, and is often used to answer research questions focusing on how or why something occurs. Qualitative methods generate non-numerical data that are analyzed and interpreted to highlight themes, patterns, and concepts.