What do we mean by collecting data?
___Collecting data means putting your design for a measurement system into operation
___Collecting data involves gathering information through observation, interviews, testing, surveys, and/or other means; recording it in appropriate ways; and organizing it so that it’s easier to work with
What do we mean by analyzing data?
___Analyzing data involves examining the information you’ve collected in ways that reveal the relationships, patterns, trends, etc. that can be found within it
___Data can be quantitative (collected as numbers) or qualitative (collected as narrative information, records, journal notes, etc.)
___Quantitative data is usually analyzed by subjecting it to one or more graphical displays or statistical operations that demonstrate the significance of relationships among variables
___Data are also usually analyzed logically, by looking for patterns and relationships revealed within them
___Qualitative data can sometimes be turned into quantitative data by, for instance, counting (e.g., the number of times a behavior occurs in various circumstances) or by rating on a number scale such dimensions as importance, satisfaction, or quality (e.g., the quality of housing or quality of life in neighborhoods)
___A combination of quantitative and qualitative data often yields the best overall picture
Why should you collect and analyze data for your evaluation?
___This can show whether or not there was actually any significant change in the dependent variable(s) you hoped to influence
___This can show connections between or among various factors that may have an effect on the results of your evaluation
___This can imply or show the reasons that your work was effective or ineffective
___This can provide you with credible evidence to show funders and the community that your program is successful, or that you’ve uncovered, and are fixing, the elements that are barriers to success
___This can show that you’re serious about evaluation and about improving your work
___This can show the field that what you’re doing works well, and thus pave the way for others to use similar methods and approaches as best practices
When and by whom should data be collected and analyzed?
___Data collection should start no later than when you begin your work and continue throughout
___If you want to see if any change is part of a long-term trend, you should collect data for some time before your program actually starts
___If you want to understand long-term effects, you should collect data on participants for some time after they leave your program
___Data should be collected and analyzed by people who are capable of doing so
___Data collection and analysis can be done by anyone from community members who have been trained to professionals with experience in conducting studies
How do you collect and analyze data?
___Implement the observational system you’ve planned
___Organize the data you’ve collected
___Conduct data graphing, visual inspection, statistical analysis, or other operations on the data as appropriate
___Take note of any significant or interesting results
___Interpret the results