3. Sourcing the data

Identify how you will source your data before the activity begins, this will ensure all opportunities to collect data are optimised.

Adopting a systematic approach to sourcing data will minimise your costs.

A two-step systematic approach to sourcing data:

  1. You may be surprised at the amount of existing data you can use so identify data and evidence that is already available. It may be:
    • gathered from the communications activity
    • gathered by intermediaries such as line managers
    • existing data sources within the organisation or other government departments
  2. Consider the need for any monitoring, research or informal feedback outside of any that already exists.
    • Monitoring of media/social media activity.
    • Use research or feedback to gather data on what staff think, feel or do as a result of your activity.

Pull results from the People Survey but if you need different measures or more frequent measures to help you make recommendations more frequently than once a year, design your own survey using tools such as Survey Monkey. If you run your own, follow best practice in survey design, question wording and sampling.

Case Study: Surveys

Case Study: Surveys

PDF, 227KB, 5 pages

Consider discussion groups or in-depth interviews for a more qualitative view of what staff think or feel, and include any informal/anecdotal feedback in your evaluation (e.g. comments following a staff event, feedback in team meetings).

Consider whether you can create proxies or assumptions if you can’t get the exact data you need to measure success. Look at sourcing a similar piece of evidence as an alternative (i.e. a proxy measure). If you can’t measure something look for similar activity from the past where this measurement has been included. Using the findings from this will not give you current evidence but could reflect performance.

Be clear on whom, when and in what format data is to be collected before activity begins

Where possible ensure data is collected in a consistent and comparable way so you can later show if your results are statistically significant.

If others are collecting data on your behalf create specific templates for data requirements. Collecting data before activity starts will ensure you have benchmarks in place.

Acknowledge any performance metrics in the evaluation plan that you will not be able to measure.