Now that you’ve developed your data collection and analysis systems it’s time to put them to work and start collecting your data.
- Train people in how to collect the data.
- Track and organize the data as you go, both to keep the evaluation in progress and to protect confidentiality of the data.
- Collect only data that will be used and use all data collected.
- Check in throughout the data collection process to reflect on what’s working, what could be improved, and whether you have answered your original evaluation questions.
Throughout the data collection process, also periodically stop to review the quality of the data you’re gathering. Some questions to consider:
- Do the data reflect the people who live in the community? The demographics of respondents should match the demographics of the priority population.
- Do the data reflect the behavior of the priority population? Are you measuring short- and medium-term outcomes of behavior change?
- Are the data plausible? Sometimes sampling strategies don’t detect what is actually happening and other methods may be needed.¹
1. Frances Dunn Butterfoss. Evaluating Coalitions and Partnerships. In: Coalitions and Partnerships in Community Health. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2007.