Conducting Trauma-Informed Data Collection

Type: Oral Presentation
Date: November 2019


Carolyn F. Fisher and Ranjani K. Paradise. “Conducting Trauma-Informed Data Collection”, Presented at the 2019 American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN.


Guidelines for trauma-informed care are designed for behavioral healthcare providers, not evaluators. These guidelines focus on how traumatic stress participates in reinforcing feedback loops with mental health, addiction, and somatic/biological illness. There are important lessons from these guidelines for evaluators, but there are no published guidelines for trauma-informed data collection.

For this roundtable, we propose a set of guidelines for conducting trauma-informed data collection. Guidelines include: focus on resilience and use appreciative inquiry; leave control with participants; use an ongoing, iterative consent process; establish a safety plan; decide what information is essential; prioritize participant welfare over data collection; and set boundaries and practice self-care. Our discussion will focus on how we can use the lens of trauma-informed practices to achieve a more flexible, responsive approach to data collection and more participatory, co-productive alliances with evaluation and research participants.

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