Monitoring strategy And data collection

Module 6: Data collection methods

6.1 Key questions to consider in choosing data collection methods

Key questions to consider in choosing data collection methods offers a framework to guide you through the purpose behind your data collection, the types of data you need, challenges and risks.

Why use it? To check rationale and process for data collection.

This tool is most useful at all stages of the programming cycle depending on the purpose of your data collection. It can be used together with:

4.1 Plotting levels of change

4.3 Prioritising indicators

  • What is the purpose of collecting data? How are you going to use it What do you want to know about the PVE context, your beneficiaries or target groups, or the PVE changes related to your programme? Is this for a context analysis, baseline assessment, part of monitoring or an evaluation? The research objective and its purpose should be primary deciding factors in choosing data collection methods.
  • Are your objectives simple or complex? If your objectives are complex, more complex methods of data collection would be required. Data collection for PVE programmes are likely to have complex objectives.
  • What point are you in your project cycle? In many cases, methods need to be identified at the design stage in order to carry out the steps at baseline phase and so that resources are made available.
  • What are the assumptions within the programme’s ToC which you are interrogating? For example, your youth empowerment project makes a link between improved political engagement of marginalised youth, improved trust between young people and state authorities and increased resilience to engaging in violence, including VE. The data you collect and the methods you choose need to evidence this assumption, testing its validity. You would need to interrogate the hypotheses within your programme theory.
  • How big is the population? Where are they (scattered across different areas, urban/rural)? Can they be accessed directly? Have you disaggregated the target group by age, gender and other identity markers?
  • Is the data factual or subjective? Quantitative or qualitative?
  • How are you disaggregating data? For example, disaggregated data on young people’s attitudes towards state institutions and how this differs for young women and men with different socio-economic status, education levels, rural/urban, etc.
  • What financial, time, personnel and technical resources do you have available?
  • What are the security, safety, ethical, political and other risks associated with the data collection?
  • How do you mitigate against information being used/abused for security/intelligence objectives?
  • How do you protect those involved in the data collection?
  • Which methods could provide you with the type of data you need?
  • Which methods would provide you with sufficient data to make a robust analysis or statements of contribution?
  • Will you need to triangulate data from different sources and using different data collection methods to help ensure credibility and validity of data?