Data collection methods

There are a number of different data collection tools that can be used to evaluate shared initiatives in PVAW.

Data collected will either be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data can be counted, measured, and expressed using numbers. Qualitative data is descriptive and conceptual. Qualitative data can also be categorised based on traits and characteristics.

Data can be collected from primary or secondary sources. Primary sources include information collected and processed by an evaluator. Secondary data sources include information retrieved through pre-existing sources.

Quantitative data collection

Some techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Metrics

    Metrics are a standardised measures of performance that are often used in the organisational setting. Examples of metrics include things like key performance indicators, client management systems and organisational data dashboards. Metrics are usually used in an organisational context and can be used to develop data dashboards.

  • Surveys

    Surveys are a useful tool often used to gather information from individuals or organisations. Surveys are either self-administered (e.g. either by paper or computer/smart device) or facilitated (e.g. telephone, face to face, 'intercept' or translated surveys).

Read more about surveys below:

Collecting qualitative data

Qualitative data is a type of data that describes issues in-depth. It is investigative and not easily reduced down to numbers. In this sense it is a valuable data collection technique for evaluating PVAW and gender equity initiatives, particularly if the number of participants is small.

Qualitative data cannot statistically measure any attributes - that is, it cannot tell us that statistically significant change has occurred as a result of the initiative, however it has many benefits in PVAW and gender equity work. These benefits are outlined in the Stories of Change section.

Some techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Qualitative interviews

    One to one interviews can be face to face, online meetings or over the phone.

  • Focus group discussions

    Used to collect qualitative data with a small group that participated in the project or initiative.

  • Document analysis

    Document analysis is a form of qualitative research that uses a systematic procedure to analyse documentary evidence and answer specific evaluation questions. Collecting this data means drawing from existing documents such as meeting minutes, annual reports, clinical records or external sources such as public records. Methods of analysis are covered in the Analysing and interpreting data section.

  • Case studies

    A case study is a detailed examination of a particular case to highlight the need for a program, exemplify particular outcomes and lessons learned. It is typically a factual representation of what happened along with an analysis which provides insights and learning for the future.

  • Stories of change

    Stories of change show what is valued through use of specific narratives of events during a project. Structured with a beginning, middle and an end they focus on a change that is directly attributed to the project or initiative. Stories depict what happened through people and place, and contain subjective portrayal of events.

  • Photovoice

    Photovoice is a visual research methodology with the intention of amplifying and empowering perspectives of vulnerable groups. Photovoice allows participants to take photos to document, reflect on, and communicate issues of concern and foster social change.

  • Observational techniques

    Observational techniques involve observing participants ongoing behaviour in a natural environment.

  • Reflective journaling

    Within a team or a partnership there may be time allocated for collective journaling throughout project implementation to identify contextual factors such as barriers and/or mitigating strategies.

  • The Delphi technique

    While the Delphi technique is a mixed methods technique it is a technique to consider when you want to determine the extent to which layperson or experts agree about a given issue.