Collect and/ or retrieve data
This task focuses on ways to collect and/or retrieve data about activities, results, context and other factors.
It is important to consider the type of information you want to gather from your participants and the ways you will analyse that information, before you choose your method. You should also consider triangulating your methods in order to ensure multiple data sources and perspectives.
The data collection tasks have been organised into five clusters based on the source of the data.
- Information from individuals
- Information from groups
- Physical measurements
- Reviewing existing records and data
Before choosing methods and collecting data it is essential to consider your key evaluation questions (KEQs) and the type of information you require to address these questions. You also need to consider the context of the evaluation and ensure the methods you choose are suitable and fit for purpose.
1. Information from individuals
2. Information from groups
Gathering information by observing people, places and/ or processes either directly or through still or moving images (photography or video). This cluster of methods involves watching and documenting the incidence of objects and/ or the behaviour of people.
These methods do not involve gathering data directly from individuals or groups, but rather about observing individuals, groups and things. Evaluators of an education project may observe the physical attributes of a school, the accessibility of the site, the availability of latrines, library, and playground. The evaluator may observe the numbers of boys and girls in a classroom, the teaching techniques used and the types of resources that children use.
4. Physical measurements
Measuring physical changes based on agreed indicators and measurement procedures. Examples include birth weight, nutrition levels, rain levels, and soil fertility.
5. Existing documents and data
Often information required for an evaluation has already been collected for other purposes. Ministries, government agencies, NGOs, and other organizations often produce valuable reports that you can use to supplement your own data collection. The document review process provides a systematic procedure for identifying, analyzing, and deriving useful information from existing documents such as project documents, information on related projects, government records and publicly available statistics. Document review can assist in triangulating findings collected through other evaluation methods, for example interview and observations. Document review can also reduce duplication.
An evaluator may review existing documents for the following reasons: to gather background information, to determine if implementation of the program reflects the program plan, when you need information to help you develop other data collection tools for evaluation and when you need data to answer what and how many evaluation questions commonly collected by other agencies.
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'Collect and/ or retrieve data' is referenced in:
- Communication for Development (C4D) :
- Rainbow Framework :