5.4.2 Identify data collection tools that work best for your questions

Data collection tools should align with methods and research questions. The tools should be logistically feasible and culturally appropriate to how people share information. At the 2012 Conference, Genesis Analytics and Citi Foundation shared this overview of the particular characteristics of different data collection tools.

Data Collection Methods

Questionnaires
• Simple and effective tools for collecting information from a large group of people
• Can be used to gather information about the intervention itself (process evaluation) or the results produced (impact evaluation)
• Can use multiple-choice or open-ended questions
– Multiple-choice questions have a limited number of responses from which a respondent may choose. Easier to analyze than open-ended questions
– Open-ended questions offer more in-depth information as they extract unanticipated responses
• Analysis is typically numerical, seeking percentages, averages, means, medians, and outliers

Focus Groups
• Participants are guided through a facilitated discussion
• Dialogue takes on a life of its own. Participants “piggy-back” on the comments of others and add a richness to the dialogue that could not be achieved through a one-on-one interview.
• Participants have some common characteristics, however; must include enough diversity to be representative.
• The development of a set of questions that encourage participants to respond and collect the information needed is critical.
• Data analysis consists of indexing, managing, and interpreting the pieces of information that are collected during the interview.

Key Informant Interviews
• Unique position in a community, can provide you with important information
• Key informants provide information, often with an interpretation of what the data might mean. The use of key informants is a relatively simple and inexpensive means of collecting information.
• Write down the questions you plan to ask to extract the desired information.
• Responses from the key informants are typically reviewed and analyzed to identify key themes as well as divergent viewpoints.

Observation
• Document behavior through watching and listening
• What people are doing, when they do it, where they do it, and how they are doing it
• Observation is frequently used to determine whether people have changed their behavior
• Unstructured or structured
• Structured observation frequently involves the use of checklists, forms, or observation schedules
• Sometimes observers can record the presence of an actual behavior
• Observation often contradicts self-reported data

External Supplementary Data
• Provides evidence from external sources, e.g.,
– Bank account statements (transactions)
– Savings (withdrawal) log books
– Productivity and attendance records
• Extremely valuable source of data for behavior change 1

  • 1. Excerpted from the presentation of Ms. Alyna Wyatt, Senior Associate in the Business and Development Practice at Genesis Analytics and Team Leader, Financial Education Fund, at the 2012 GYEOC.