What do we mean by information gathering and synthesis?
___Information gathering refers to gathering information about the issue you’re facing and the ways other organizations and communities have addressed it
___You can gather information using both existing sources and natural examples
___Synthesis here refers to analyzing what you’ve learned from your information gathering, and constructing a coherent program or approach by taking ideas from a number of sources and putting them together to create something that meets the needs of the community and population you’re working with
___Synthesis involves extracting the functional elements of both the analysis of the issue and approaches to it
___Functional elements are those that are indispensable either to understanding the issue, or to implementing a particular program
Why gather and synthesize information?
___It will help you avoid reinventing the wheel
___It will help you to gain a deep understanding of the issue so that you can address it properly
___You need all the tools possible to create the best program you can
___It’s likely that most solutions aren’t one size fits all
___It can help ensure your program is culturally sensitive
___Knowing what’s been done in a variety of other circumstances and understanding the issue from a number of different viewpoints may give you new insights and new ideas for your program
When should you gather and synthesize information?
___Information gathering and synthesis should continue throughout the life of the program
Who should gather and synthesize information?
___Information gathering and synthesis is often most effectively conducted by a multi-sectoral participatory group including all stakeholders in the issue
How do you gather and synthesize information?
___Decide what you need to know about the issue itself, successful and unsuccessful attempts to address it in various circumstances, and the local context
___Determine your likely sources for the various types of information you’re seeking
- Existing sources include scholarly, mass-market, and statistical/demographic published information
- Natural sources include some published information about programs, but can best be obtained by direct contact with those involved in planning, implementing, or participating in programs relevant to your issue
- It’s important to pay attention to both successful and unsuccessful attempts to address the issue, and to step outside your own field in search of solutions that work
___Devise a plan for gathering information
- Decide who will gather what information
- Decide how information will be gathered
- Decide what adjustments will be made for gaps in experience or skills
- Set a timeline for the initial information gathering
___Begin synthesis by taking it all apart – extract the functional elements of what you’ve learned
___Complete synthesis by putting the relevant pieces back together as a coherent program that speaks to your community’s needs
___Keep at it by continuing to gather and synthesize information throughout the life of the program