Applying Evaluative Thinking to Data Collection
In 2013 this series of four bulletins was developed in response to the continuing need expressed by nonprofit partners to clarify how to put enhanced evaluation capacity to work specifically in the area of data collection.
These bulletins are intended to do the following:
- Provide additional details about specific data collection strategies.
- Provide direction regarding effective use of data collection strategies so that findings can inform data-driven decision making.
- Help organizations think about creative ways to present and use evaluation findings.
Bruner Foundation is pleased to add these bulletins to its complimentary tools and resources for building evaluative capacity which are available in this section of the Bruner Foundation website www.brunerfoundation.org.
Evaluative Capacity is Dependent on Collection, Analysis and Use of Data.
Evaluation data are collected using combinations of the following four strategies:
- Surveys have a series of questions (items) with predetermined response choices.
- Interviews are one-sided conversations between an interviewer and a respondent. Questions are (mostly) predetermined but open-ended. Respondents are expected to answer using their own terms.
- Observations are conducted in person to view and hear actual program activities.
- Record review is a catch-all category that involves accessing existing information. Record review data are obtained from internal and external program records.
The same thoughtful, systematic approach that is inherent to good evaluation should be applied to all data collection and analysis. This series of Evaluative Thinking bulletins provides details and pointers to that end.