Data ethics guidebook & toolkit

This data ethics guidebook and accompanying toolkit from Informing Change and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation deliver practical guidance and customizable tools for navigating ethical issues in research and evaluations.

While appreciating the insights evaluation work can yield, we acknowledge the ways evaluation can do harm. These publications are concerned with 'data ethics'—the potential ways data-related activities can adversely impact people and society.

First, this guidebook establishes baseline practices for reducing the risk of causing harm through unethical approaches. It then offers more equity-oriented, participatory approaches beyond this baseline to add care or increase the value of participation to communities sharing their data. The resource provides practical guidance to assess and respond to ethical issues that show up in applied research and evaluation activities.

Second, the companion toolkit allows the user to capture insights and create feedback loops within your team and community. The toolkit contains stories from the field that capture the real-world experiences of practitioners grappling with how to do evaluation more ethically. The stories illustrate key concepts and the complexity within which today's practitioners are navigating, and which can be used as fodder for team discussions on data ethics or further reflection. It also contains a framework for ethical thinking that offers an at-a-glance reference for planning and implementing evaluations; a learning & decision log that prompts you to record insights and decisions your team makes about how it wants to do evaluation in future; and a list of further reading for pointers to additional material of interest.


Informing Change. (2022). Data ethics guidebook: Cultivating an ethical mindset in research & evaluation.

Informing Change. (2022). Data ethics toolkit: A companion to the data ethics guidebook.