Sue Swanson

Sue Swanson, PhD
Research and Evaluation Consultant

Sue Swanson specializes in program evaluation and educational research. She has experience designing, conducting, and consulting on program evaluations, applied and action research projects, and capacity building programs in public health, education, and social services. She works on the national, regional and local levels.

For the past 16 years, Dr. Swanson has been developing and conducting program evaluations and providing technical assistance around evaluation in Public Health, both at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and as a contractor for the CDC and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration via a private consulting firm. Her main focus has been in evaluating the effects of HIV prevention programs and in developing reviews of literature related to evaluation designs specifically for HIV prevention programs with multiple components. The results of her research help inform the practice of HIV prevention.

Dr. Swanson possesses extensive training and experience in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies and has taught graduate level educational research. Dr. Swanson develops theoretical frameworks and logic models to help explain programs; creates indicators, protocols, data collection instruments, and analysis tables for evaluations; and assists with the development of evaluation and research report formats and dissemination plans. Dr. Swanson collects and analyzes data from observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and assessments. She writes and gives presentations for professional, technical, and non-technical audiences. Dr. Swanson enjoys reviewing research and evaluation proposals and working with professionals and students to improve their studies. She writes successful funding proposals and collaborates effectively on interdisciplinary teams.

Early on in her career, Dr. Swanson worked in the field of K-12 special education, in the areas of private school development and improvement, educational program development and administration, staff development, diagnostic and standardized testing, applied and action research, school accreditation, and teaching. Recently, Dr. Swanson has returned to the field of education as a program evaluator and data analyst for a large urban school district, where her focus is on fulfilling data requests and providing capacity building to staff members around using data, data teams, and data systems for improving instruction, student outcomes, and school outcomes. There, she is also designing an evaluation of the district level Race to the Top Program. Dr. Swanson recently wrote a presentation for the Southeastern Evaluation Association about her approach to planning the monitoring and evaluation of outputs, outcomes, and impacts for this Race to the Top program.


Dr. Swanson has Bachelor and Masters degrees in special education and a doctorate in Educational Research, Measurement, and Statistics with a cognate in Anthropology. Dr. Swanson conducted and participated in ethnographic and quantitative research and evaluation projects in Costa Rica, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Africa, and the USA. Dr. Swanson’s dissertation focused on the use and benefits of mixing qualitative and quantitative research methodologies in nursing science. Dr. Swanson specializes in using mixed methods and mixed methodologies to tailor study designs to meet the needs of clients.

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