Analyzing and Interpreting Information


  • Always start with the research goals 
    • why did you undertake the research in the first place?
    • what did you want to find out?
    • organize data into sections
  • Basic Analysis of Quantitative Information
    • make copies of your data and store the master copy away so you can access it anytime
    • tabulate the information – ad up the number of ratings, rankings, yes, no’s for each question
    • for rankings/ratings, consider a mean or average for each question
    • consider conveying the range of questions
  • Basic Analysis of Qualitative Information 
    • read through all the data carefully
    • organise comments into similar categories
      • concerns
      • suggestions
      • strengths
      • weaknesses
      • similar experiences
      • program inputs
      • recommendations
      • outputs
      • outcome indicators etc.
    • label these categories or themes listed above
    • attempt to identify patterns or associations and casual relationships in the themes, e.g. most people come from the same geographic area or all biolog teachers interviewed had the same concern etc.
    • keep all of the commentary for several years after completion in case it is needed for future reference
  • Interpreting information 
    • attempt to put the information into perspective, e.g. compare results to what you expected, relate back to your research goals
    • consider recommendations to improve the programme, product, service, project, conclusions about its operations, etc.
    • record conclusions and recommendations in a report and associate interpretations to justify your conclusions or recommendations
  • Reporting Results 
    • translate recommendations into action plans and when they will be completed
    • description of what topic is under evaluation, explanation of research goals, methods and analysis procedures, listing of conclusions and recommendations and any relevant attachments, e.g. questionnaires, surveys, interview guides etc.
    • record the research plans and activities in a research plan which can be referenced when a similar research effort is required in the future
  • Contents of a Research Report
    • Title Page
    • Table of contents
    • Executive summary (one page, consise overview of findings and recommendations)
    • Purpose of the report
    • Background on the topic being researched
      • organisation/project description history
      • description of topic being researched
        • problem statement
        • overall goals
        • outcomes and performance measures
        • activities/technologies of the product/service/programme
        • staffing (if applicable)
      • Overall evaluation goals
      • Methadology
        • types of data/information collected
        • how information/data was collected
        • how data/information was analyzed
        • limitations of the evaluation
      • Interpretations and Conclusions
      • Recommendations
      • Appendices
        • instruments used to collect data
        • data collected
        • testemonials (comments made by users)
        • case studies of users
        • any related literature




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