How to define a "representative sample" for community engagement?

My office is hosting several community engagement events in partnership with other agencies in the late summer and fall, and we’re working on how to evaluate whether we’ve meaningfully represented different subgroups in the community we’re working with in these events.

Most of our thinking so far has centered on somewhat standard measures of demographic distribution, geographic distribution, and certain life experiences that are relevant to our event question, but this feels limited. This event is also not typical of our office’s events because all participants will be enrolled in one of four assistance programs run through our partner agencies. Any examples on how others have evaluated this before, especially in a local government context, are helpful!

@hannahre You might also want to think about representation based on the assistance programs. For example, which program, how long they have been enrolled in it (or cohort), and perhaps how they came to join (if recruiting pipeline might impact their experiences or background experiences entering in). From my experience, first year participants (or different cohorts) can often have very different experiences than returning, especially if the programs have evolved over time.

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Thank you @janfaraguna! The cohort timing question is a really helpful frame, especially since we’ve seen changes in the application form even if there weren’t programmatic changes.

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