There are several methods which we can use for conducting evaluation and collection of evaluation data.
Sources of Evaluation Data - Methods of Evaluation Data Collection
First is the Interview. We have been doing interviews whenever we go on project visits. We ask questions and gather more information relevant to our project evaluation. The questions we use should be concise and precise so that we will be understood.
Second is the Group Interview. A group interview involves six to eight people including the proponent. This can facilitate data gathering as well as information validation. However, the selection of participants in the group interview should be set beforehand. Only those who have knowledge and authority over the project should be involved.
The third is the Questionnaire. These are the written questions which the evaluator would like to ask from the respondents without personal contact or communication. While this may be convenient on the part of the evaluator, there is also a difficulty in getting back the duly filled in questionnaire forms. In using the questionnaire one should consider and address the problem of retrieving and validating the answers or data.
The fourth method is the Observation. The evaluator observes the process by attending. He/She can either do participant observation or process observation. In participant observation, he/she is part of the activity and actively participates in the deliberations/discussions. It is assumed that a certain degree of camaraderie, and rapport with people have been established before. On the other hand, process observation entails an observation from the outside. No active participation is done here.
Records and Documents:
The fifth includes the Records and Documents. Here one does content analysis and studies available documents and records for consistency with tne goal stated and logic of presentation of facts/information. Records and c jcuments are important in evaluating progress reports or doing updated assessments and monitoring.
Key Informant Interviews:
The sixth involves the services of the Key Informant other than the proponent/beneficiary. The key informant may either be an expert knowledgeable ibout the project concerned, a local government official, or someone who is credible to the community. Because of his/her status and reputation, the key informants statement(s) will be accepted by the community.
Another form of group interviews is the Community Dialogue/Forum/ Assembly which involves ten or more participants. This method is best used during large gatherings and reflections.
The Survey is usually used in impact evaluations. The questionnaire is an integral part of survey and interview with a sample population using either the random sampling (a percentage of the general population) or stratified sampling (a percentage of representative/sector in the population). A participative survey solicits the participation of the community being surveyed. The inputs, questions or suggestions of the target group are .ncorporated in the formulation of the questionnaire. The final draft of the questionnaire and the sampling design is also presented to the community. You may have noticed that those enumerated above can be classified as either i method of data gathering and/or a source of information.
Usually in the data gathering phase, the evaluator utilizes a combination of two or more methods, depending on the need and type of the evaluation. C :her considerations in choosing the kind of methodology would be:
- Desired depth of evaluation
- Need to ensure a representation of the participants in the evaluation
- Approximate scientific method
- Resources and Time Limitation