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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

___Collect information

___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