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SocialCops’ Ultimate Guide To Effective Data Collection

By Guest Writer on March 18, 2016


The development and policy spaces have seen the use of data to drive decision making and increase impact. Non-profit and government organisations are using data to inform decisions, such as how much money to invest in a particular project or how to improve impact per dollar spent. With the growing importance placed on data, surveys have become an indispensable tool for every organization, from billion-dollar tech companies to rural nonprofits.

Creating a survey seems simple – just ask a few simple questions, and you’ll get back data to solve your every problem. However, designing a survey correctly takes time and knowledge. A poorly designed survey will lead to useless data, wasting your time and money. As computer scientists say, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Designing a survey involves several considerations:

  • What is the purpose of your survey? What data are you looking to collect?
  • How can you best collect that data?
  • What sort of survey and research methodology should you use?
  • How should you write the questions in your survey?
  • Who should you survey?

The mission of SocialCops is to drive the world’s most important decisions using data and in the last two years, we’ve helped over 150 partners – UNICEF, Oxfam India, Ministry of Rural Development (India) – collect over 20 million data points using our platform. In the process, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to collect high quality data to drive decision-making.
We’ve just launched an ebook to share our experiences and the lessons we have learned around how to effectively collect data: The Ultimate Guide To Effective Data Collection.

This 30-page guide contains everything you need to know to improve the way you collect data, including the basic building blocks of effective data collection.

  • Frame your research question, outcomes and indicators
  • Choose between 4 types of data collection methods
  • Use (and even mix) qualitative and quantitative research
  • Write purposeful questions to improve data quality
  • Sample your population, with a simple sample size formula

We hope that The Ultimate Guide To Effective Data Collection will be a useful resource for you. The ebook is designed to take you through these questions and help you design a survey that will give you high-quality data.

  • Chapter 1 will help you think through the purpose, outcomes and indicators of your survey.
  • Chapters 2 and 3 will help you determine what data collection method you should use, as well as whether you need a qualitative or quantitative survey.
  • Chapters 4-8 address writing the questions in your survey — what you want to ask and best practices around how to ask it.
  • Chapter 9 covers all aspects of sampling your population — sampling methods, best practices, and a quick sample size formula.

Please download it now!

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