Creating a strong data collection plan involves both selecting appropriate measures to assess program outcomes, and carefully considering how the data will be collected. Toward these aims, Child Trends has developed a set of recommended outcome measures that may be used in evaluations of healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs serving parents in complex families.1 These recommended items are appropriate for a diverse set of families, including married and unmarried couples and low-income couples. This tip sheet is a companion piece that provides advice on collecting outcomes data from parents in complex families and considers issues that could arise when studying this population. Specifically, complex families are defined as families where couples are in a committed relationship (married, cohabiting, or in a committed romantic relationship, even if they are not living together), they have at least one child together, and one or both parents have children from previous relationships. By definition, complex families are just that—complex—and involve multiple individuals and relationships. Decisions must be made about which family members should provide survey data, which relationships should be assessed, and how to define "family." There is no one correct approach; the best approach will depend on a particular program’s goals, research questions, and resource constraints. This document presents researchers, evaluators, and program staff with key considerations for developing a data collection plan appropriate for their situation. (Author abstract)
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Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education: Considerations for Collecting Outcomes Data From Parents in Complex Families.
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