AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Jan/16

27

Spectra Myers on Simplifying Data Analysis

My name is Spectra Myers, and I am a graduate student at the University of Minnesota’s Organizational Leadership Policy and Development working on a Masters in Evaluation Studies.

I have been working closely with a Minneapolis agency addressing homelessness among youth on a service evaluation. The project included fielding a paper survey, data entry and analysis. The agency was thrilled with the actionable information generated and program changes suggested by staff as a result of a survey. They committed to fielding the survey twice a year to track their progress and generate further insights for program improvements. The only problem: their staff does not have training in, or access to, programs like SPSS or R to generate the descriptive statistics needed for analysis. Even Excel seemed too cumbersome for their needs.

Rad Resource: Statwing is an online subscription data analysis program with straightforward data uploading and intuitive features. It automatically codes missing data; generates descriptive statistics; notes p-values, effect sizes, confidence intervals; and it even includes basic regression. They have a free 14-day trial and offer monthly and annual plans at www.statwing.com.

Hot Tip: Want to share data with collaborators or clients? Statwing makes it easy to generate a link that you can share to provide read-only access, regardless of whether others have an account.

Lesson Learned: Commit to supporting your clients learning process in data analysis. Just because Statwing is intuitive doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It still takes some knowledge of statistics to know when or when not to use the provided features including the suggested statistical analyses and visualizations. I’m taking the approach of analyzing the second round of data with agency staff to ensure a successful transition.

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