|Ways of Collecting Information
Whom to ask, how, and what will you do with the information? Measuring or demonstrating change over time
Tips on asking good questions
Gather InformationWays of collecting information
Once you have defined what you want to find out, and have set your key indicators, it is time to start thinking about what questions you will need to ask and the best way to collect the information.
There are several decisions you need to make, including who you will need to approach to get the information that you need. Organisations with large groups of people to survey may want to approach a sample of the total group, asking only a percentage of people chosen at random to respond. It is also important to choose an appropriate format for collecting information based on whom you are asking and what you are asking about. Information about the different formats, such as questionnaires, focus groups, and telephone surveys can be found at Compare Research Methods. It is also important that you have a clear idea at this stage of how you want to analyse, present, and use the information you collect. These decisions will link back to some of the previous elements in the proving and improving cycle.
In developing some quantitative information about your organisation’s outcomes, you may wish to set up a baseline survey. This involves a series of quantitative indicators that you will measure at regular intervals with similar people or groups. This can help you to track the organisation’s performance over time.
If you intend to show the ‘distance travelled’ by people who are employed by your organisation, it will be important to do an initial interview, questionnaire, or survey when people first come into contact with your organisation and then at one or more specified points later on. You will want to ask about the same aspects of their lives – the areas in which your organisation hopes to make a change – at each point in time in the same way. These questions can be done either formally or informally as part of an ‘intake’ or initial induction process and as part of periodic check-ins or reviews at regular intervals.
Tips on asking good questions footnote 1
The following are some tips for developing your questions and how to ask them – your methodology. In defining the questions you want to ask follow these helpful hints.